by Peter Blood

I was a picker of fruit –
I and scores of Young Friends
    gathered in orchards fall after fall,
Circled the trees joyfully,
   lifted each apple
   gently off its hanging home.
Breathed in the clear autumn air,
Looked out over treetop to rolling hills
   and other treetops and blue skies.
Cooked hearty meals and sang and
   prayed with aching bones
   when the day’s work was done.

The air was so clear you longed to breathe it forever.
The world raged with war
   and dreams of justice.
And we dreamed of a way
   to do no harm in our labors –
   in community.

(I reached too far once:
The supporting bough broke,
   my arm broke.
Helen tended me,
    I healed,
The others picked on.)

Jesus said to Peter & Andrew
   that he would make them “fishers of men”,
And he did.
Now in this great dark hungry world,
Who will reach out and gather
   disciples today
Who will dream & work together to gather
  souls – ripe & ready for the harvest?

(And will young dreamers pick apples again?)

Written Dec. 26, 2000, after seeing the movie “Cider House Rules” & dreaming the next night about teaching schoolchildren to pick apples.
Published Aug. 2001 issue of Quaker Life. © 2001 Peter Blood.