After Apple Picking The speaker uses the word “sleep” six times in the poem. This repetition, along with additional words that connote sleeping or resting, comes to suggest the presence of death. The speaker has endured a long hard life, and his routine activity, no matter how fulfilling it must have been at first and throughout, has agonized him and brought exhaustion to his soul. Even the “rumbling of the loads and unloads of apples” disturbs his senses. The poem implies that rest, sleep, or death is necessary for all things. Even the glorious life, monotonously thriving the soul on that one joyous habitual, fatigues a person when faced day to day. The speaker asserts this: “I am overtired of the great harvest I myself desired.” He knows he will sleep that “human sleep” of restoration once the sun comes down.
But his tone reveals despise to “just human sleep.” He would much rather endure that “long sleep” of everlasting tranquility and dreams beyond imaginable capabilities. The speaker does not wish to inflict his own death, however, he does long for it, and waits for it as his vent for serenity. He waits the “ladder” that will take him “toward heaven.” Poetry Essays.