Paula Norton, 20, wrote the poem for her English literature class and she had to make a response to the short story through writing a paper or writing a creative piece.
“I’ve always kind-of liked poetry so I thought, ‘Why not?’” said Norton.
The poem is reproduced on this page.
Alice Munro’s short story Lying Under the Apple Tree inspired Norton’s poem. It is in a collection of short stories called The View from Castle Rock, which was the Algonquin Reads program’s official book of the 2014/2015 year.
Norton wrote the poem in November. Her teacher submitted the poem for consideration to the contest. When Norton received the e-mail about winning, she thought it was spam email.
“I actually forgot I wrote the poem,” said Norton. “So when I got the e-mail, I was like, ‘Okay, that’s awesome.’”
Norton aptly titled her piece Lying Under the Apple Tree poem. Unlike the title, she wrote the poem at her desk at home within 20 minutes, not underneath an apple tree.
The story itself is about first love and Norton thought of hers when writing it. She was able to relate to the story because the main character, Alice, was 12 when she had her first love and Norton was 14 years old.
The nature-loving Norton took a lot of the imagery from the story. She thought it was easy to envision the blossoms and put it down on paper.
“I like the imagery of nature itself and how it played out between them with being young and awkward,” said Norton.
Norton plans to take a year off and travel in Australia after her graduation. The thrifty student plans to either spend some of the money at Value Village, or use some of the money for a new camera.
Lying Under the Apple Tree Poem
By: Paula Norton
The pressures I feel,
The ideals of life,
For the small simple things I want and crave,
They are wrong,
These small passions I will bury,
It puts my mind at ease,
But hide it I must,
I want to wander,
To feel what I have not felt,
To see the blossoms,
To lie beneath,
The dangling pearly petals,
With the faint rosy smear,
To rest on the rough roots,
To dirty my blouse,
To view the world differently,
See the clouds blow on by,
For a moment,
And feel…at ease,
It wasn’t all I had imagined,
But none the less,
I had experienced it, felt it, and was in the moment,
To blend in or stand out,
I will always choose to blend,
To speak my mind or stay quiet,
I will always stay quiet,
To feel passion, arousal, and trust,
I will always feel betrayal,
To feel things I have never felt before,
He showed me that,
I felt lust and yearning,
But disloyalty was something I have never tasted,
I will go and find a new lust,
For books are my safe place,
A new passion,
And submerse myself into,
For passion can be found in many places,
But books are my haven,
Betrayal has brought me my true love.