One day I shall sleep
in the shade of an orchard
where wisdom has grown
unnoticed. An apple falls
releasing a thought.
Surprised, I recall how
old laws are discovered.
There are rich pickings
for hens round rough trunks
of old sagging apple trees
acquainted with gravity.
So here I will sleep
like a satisfied scientist
with new knowledge.
Orchards are peaceful places, especially on a sunny early autumn day.
Perhaps the awareness that the year is drawing to a close, finding fulfilment in all this fruition suggests that work’s been done.
Or maybe it’s even something to do with that unnoticed sense of gravity pulling one down which Sir Isaac Newton claimed he encountered in his orchard.
One way and another, this is a time and place of rest.
For us, as well as apples...
For me, to sit against an apple trunk, or even lie, and think of nothing very much is indeed restful.
On the other hand for Newton, it was more likely the beginning of a massive – dare I say weighty? – piece of work. His orchard with its falling apples set him off on a trajectory of discovery of new knowledge, and of ancient laws.
As for the apples, they quietly continue to grow, just as unnoticed as the laws of gravity were before Newton started thinking that day in his orchard.
And, in their own time, they fall; being subject to gravity, they end up on the earth.
Their trees too – they themselves sag, or even assume the horizontal.
As for me, I too find myself drawn downwards, leaning comfortably, my thoughts released and falling to the ground. Not a bad place to fall asleep, whether or not I’ve managed to discover any new knowledge.
I hope Newton found satisfaction, and that he slept soundly.