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May 7, 2010 / Indigo

Blackberry-Picking

 

Late August, given heavy rain and sun

for a full week, the blackberries would ripen.

At first, just one, a glossy purple clot

among others, red, green, hard as a knot.

You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet

like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it

leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger

sent us out with milk-cans, pea-tins, jam-pots

where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.

Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills

we trekked and picked until the cans were full,

until the tinkling bottom had been covered

with green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned

like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered

with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.

But when the bath was filled we found a fur,

A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.

The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush

the fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.

I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair

that all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.

Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

-Seamus Heaney

love & magic,

indigo

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41 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Raul Alanis / May 7 2010 11.01 am

    The picture almost looks like a clip from a horror movie. Yet, I don’t know, it almost makes me want to eat blackberries.

    http://www.wutevs.wordpress.com

    • Indigo / May 10 2010 11.56 am

      That’s what I was going for! Thank you.

  2. Cate / May 7 2010 12.13 pm

    Make a nice mess,and stain, but they do taste good. Nice poem to go with the pictures.

    • Indigo / May 10 2010 11.57 am

      They do taste delicious. Thank you so much.

  3. Breland Kent / May 7 2010 12.50 pm

    I used to Pick blackberries in my back yard. They are yummy! Thanks for sharing this awesome blog!

    • Indigo / May 10 2010 11.58 am

      No, thank you for visiting.

  4. Sarah Gupta / May 7 2010 1.39 pm

    Mmmm! Wish we had some blackberry bushes!

    Nice poem, too.

    • Indigo / May 10 2010 12.01 pm

      Blackberry bushes would be divine! Thank you.

  5. Tamara Hastie / May 7 2010 2.02 pm

    yes, the stain of the blackberries leave behind such a mess- and a possibly a thorn or two…but what a reward in the end. looking forward to the results of such a picking feat! :)

  6. fondutv / May 7 2010 3.08 pm

    That was a lovely poem and pic!

  7. dengitsusan / May 7 2010 5.13 pm

    i love blackberries! as well as the poem. nice :)

  8. Heather / May 7 2010 8.54 pm

    What a great poem. We don’t have those for the picking around here–raspberries don’t seem as messy, but those sound like a lot more fun:).

  9. Lambang / May 7 2010 10.19 pm

    I never eat blackberry. .

  10. Willoughby / May 7 2010 11.57 pm

    This reminds me of the time I spent in Oregon picking blackberries.

    On a separate note: brave girl for wearing a white shirt while picking blackberries.

  11. melanirae / May 8 2010 12.25 am

    We pick blueberries every summer. Its so fun and they just taste so much better when you have picked them your self :)

  12. Somnopolis / May 8 2010 4.06 am

    Wow! I thought something horrible had happened in that pic, not blackberry picking. Very interesting! =D

  13. Ali / May 8 2010 5.37 am

    The poem really changes the immediate reaction you would have from just looking at the image without seeing the heading.

  14. Kerry / May 8 2010 8.17 am

    I had no idea until I read this that Seamus Heaney, a friend of one of my favorite poets, Galway Kinnell, ALSO wrote a poem about blackberries..here’s Kinnell’s

    Blackberry Eating

    I love to go out in late September
    among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
    to eat blackberries for breakfast,
    the stalks very prickly, a penalty
    they earn for knowing the black art
    of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
    lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
    fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
    as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
    like strengths or squinched,
    many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
    which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
    in the silent, startled, icy, black language
    of blackberry — eating in late September.

  15. dohugsnotdrugs / May 8 2010 9.20 am

    I agree with the first comment. The berry juice resembles someones murderous hands. However the poem was capable to steer the direction of the photo to something as innocent as blackberries.

  16. Menotyou / May 8 2010 11.01 am

    took me back to my child hood in the south walking to the bus stop picking blackberries from the side of the road waiting with my brothers.

  17. Songbird / May 8 2010 11.28 am

    The poem goes perfectly with the pic! Even though at quick glance the pic looks a bit more sinister than mere berry picking….lol!

  18. Geoff / May 8 2010 2.38 pm

    Very nice picture.

  19. ratsindear / May 8 2010 4.02 pm

    This post was so beautiful. Such fantastic visuals and unusual choice of words. Very well written. And nice pic to complement the post.Cheers

  20. Love it. Reminds me we used to have farm-after-farm here in Melville. Thanks.

  21. ss / May 8 2010 6.07 pm

    ssssss

  22. theresaameketuk7 / May 8 2010 7.04 pm

    I like berry’s. Once I had a Strawberry patch. Each year it spread out over the ground. Now I went and got a Blackberry, Raspberry, Blueberry and Grape plants. I know Strawberries and Raspberry’s grow in patches also that Grapes grow on a vine. How do Blackberries and Blueberries grow.

  23. Phillip Frangules / May 8 2010 8.51 pm

    Nice poem and pictures, it brings back memories…

  24. Ruby Craft / May 8 2010 10.02 pm

    Well, this sure brought back memories of blackberry picking. You have to wash the berries gently before eating. They are wonderful in pie!

  25. alexheath / May 8 2010 11.23 pm

    My hands were always blue with berry juice as a kid. I love this picture, and how it scares me and entices me at the same time. I want to run away from it, but I also want to eat berries!

  26. Academia Luis Vives / May 9 2010 12.08 am

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  27. pemulung / May 9 2010 6.42 am

    wonderfull!

  28. Desiree / May 9 2010 11.38 am

    it looks like blood! but love itttt

  29. FutureTunez Blog / May 9 2010 1.25 pm

    cool post! I love black lace photography

  30. Anwar Khan / May 9 2010 4.35 pm

    Jhad is very importent for muslim , espacialy in these days, because the enemey of Islam attack on Muslim countries, all over the world..We can’t agnoor Jahad in this satuation of the World, from one side the Chirstications attack on Muslim World, on the other side World Zionist, World Anarchist, Jewish, World Jewish Congrees, Israeli’s inculded,.. ( Fremasionery, Lion Club, Mossad, Rotary Club, Jaycees, Watch Tawor, Awake, & so many others .. ) , attacked on the Muslim Brothers hood. The Oil campanies like Seven Sisters, or Six Sisters are also busy to attack on Islamic World from hundreds years ago, espacialy 60 to 80 years back, actualy this was begun more then 300 years. This was started from early 1705 to 2001. The 2001 is ENDING of this dirty games. Thay are duging their ” GRAVE YARD ” in ISLAMIC WORLD now a days.This is the time, when they are going to their ” ENDS “. ” INSHALLAH. “.The 11/9 was a big fault from American , Israel’s, UK, Pentagone, CIA, FBI, MOSSAD, JEWISH, MI5, MI6, ISI, IB, FIU, FIA, SEPCIAL BRANCH, ( more then 30 small other agencies. ). India, RAW, KGB, USSR, Black Waters, Worl Jewsih Congrees, World Zionist, World Anarchist, Oil company, Puppet Al- Qaeda, Taliban, OSAMA, BUSH, BUSH Fathers, ( just now OBAMA, ) Tony Bailer, and so many ” OTHERS “, envolived in this” CENTURY FAULT. “. They gaine noting from this 11/9 dirtry game, they lost every think in this game, it was not END of this game. They are ” TOTALLY FAILED ” in this war project. The result of this failed projects are as ” WORLD ECONOMIC WAR CIRSIS. “, US Economic cirsis, Europ Economic Cirsis, Israel’s war with Hezbullah, Israel’s war with Hammas, US Army are failed in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, Yemen etc etc….This was gift from Jewish & Bush to American, & all over the world.. The ” 11/9 IS GIFT FROM GOD TO MUSLIM NATION. “.They are awaking in this Modren age. The are knowing the Price of OIL & GAS, ITS MUST BE 200 EUROO, not 40 or 50 dallor. The time will be Chang, its not in their hands. They are lose politics, in these days Britain is in Politicl Cirsis & Economical Cirsrs. The Parties lost their Confident, the queen gon with the wind. The Poor London can’t do any thing. GOD IS SO GREAT, Britisher are not so great, They are failed in IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, & PAKISTAN BADLLY. The 2011 is coming soon.its their ENDING YEAR. THANKS GOD

  31. blackwatertown / May 10 2010 2.51 am

    Good pic and I always enjoy Seamus Heaney’s poetry. It’s still coming out rich and strong.

  32. rajat / May 10 2010 4.34 am

    loved both your berries and poem.
    they are nice. thanks.

  33. GraceKay / May 12 2010 1.01 pm

    With my luck and those blackberry hands I would probably forget and scratch an itch on my face and accidentally wipe my hands on my shirt or pants. What a mess.

    We used to pick strawberries…

  34. amlo87 / May 13 2010 2.13 am

    Thanks for sharing! All I can think about it blackberries now, lol.

  35. leila / May 15 2010 9.42 am

    indigo, extreme congrats on the wordpress feature! you’re amazing, girly.

  36. unforgiven / May 16 2010 12.08 pm

    This blog is very good. Thanks for this. I will bookmark this page…

  37. best blackberry deals / May 23 2010 7.29 pm

    Wow that looks cool. Nice and messy hands and it reminds me of when I was a kid and used to go Blackberry picking. These days of course I normally call other Blackberrys. :D

    John.

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