Friday, 7 August 2009

Blackberry-Picking


My facebook status just now reads "Paperback Reader is eating blackberries". I was eating blackberries and they were delicious. One of my friends commented with this quote:

"Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen."

I didn't know the quote so I googled it and found it was the opening lines from the poem "Blackberry-Picking" by Seamus Heaney. I am not a huge poetry fan (it is my least favourite literary form) but this poem strikes a chord with me and, importantly, is accessible. It is quite dark, especially when it moves onto decay, but I really like it. I enjoy the blood imagery and comparisons. I think that the poem is about the end of things, about relationships, and of beautiful things becoming ugly and dying. I especially liked this line:

"Our hand were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's."


9 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

I enjoy eating blackberries too. The plums in my garden are ready too, so I have loads of fruit to get through!

Paperback Reader said...

Mmmm, lucky you. I love fruit and plums are delicious.

Kals said...

I love berries too and this post reminded me of this video ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d5bLf0gq2Q

claire said...

I love blackberries, and that picture is making me hungry!

Paperback Reader said...

Kals, thanks for the video!
I love all berries too.

Claire, the picture is incredibly appetising isn't it? More so than if I had taken a photograph of the bowl I had.

Novel Insights said...

Oh I always pick blackberries when I see them (although near where I live they're probably contaminated with traffic fumes!!) and your post reminded me of a song my mum used to love by a singer called Michelle Shocked about blackberry blossom.

Darlene said...

What a lovely picture! I've chosen a cross-stitch pattern before just because of the blackberries featured, then when I saw all of the starting a colour, changing a colour and outlining oh my...well, it's in my closet. Tomorrow, I will pack a blackberry yogurt for my snack at work in honour of your post.

Tony said...

Ah, memories! My brother and I used to go blackberry picking down the old train line during the summer holidays; big, sprawling, untended bushes, just waiting for anyone brave enough to dive in and rob them of their berries.

Of course, now most of the country is under concrete, and you can't find that kind of urban orchard any more...

Paperback Reader said...

Polly, I've never picked blackberries but want to... not sure where I'll find them in SE London though.

Darlene, how lovely! Hope you enjoy it. Verity featured a lovely blackberry baking recipe recently.

Tony, reading about the poem I learned that Heaney based it on his own childhood memories of picking blackberries.