Blackberry Picking

When I taught AP English Literature & Composition, we did a lot of practice tests. They were usually test prompts from previous years. One of my favorite test prompts as on the poem “Blackberry Picking” by Seamus Heaney. Since I don’t own a copyright, I am linking to it.

Our blackberries are just staring to ripen.

At first, just one, a glossy purple clot  Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.

 I can’t help thinking of Heaney’s words when I am out picking. I love the imagry he uses: sticky as Bluebeard’s, dark blobs burned Like a plate of eyes, summer’s blood. I see and feel each of those images so vividly. And, of course, I look at the bowls of berries and I know I have to get to work.

It wasn’t fair That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot. Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

Pancakes with blackberry syrup and fresh blueberries

What’s inspiring you today?

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Blackberries always inspire me. I have my favorite bushes staked out around our area and the deer know better than to mess with any of them. I have dibs.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Your deer must be wiser than the ones I’ve known. 🙂 Where we live now, we have more trouble with blackbirds.

  2. Those fabulous pictures inspire me to be hungry!
    And the prose is lovely, though I guess not quite as filling as the berries themselves. 🙂

    1. I would have to agree with you, Lexa. The berries are more filling than words. 🙂

  3. Blackberry season has come and gone here in NC, but I can totally relate. I had scratches up to my shoulders from picking, stained fingers and t-shirts, and then the kitchen was filled with them. I froze a few pints and used them in smoothies, and made blackberry jam with my mother-in-law (oh, it’s fantastic — I had some for breakfast this morning). Being outside is always inspiring, if not for writing, then definitely for cooking!

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