“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday, 6 September 2013

Blackberry Picking

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.


  1. That field photo looks very much like my back yard, lol! Alas, no luscious blackberries I'm afraid. Enjoy!!!

    1. If the photo is like your back yard Queenie Jeannie...then good luck, you're going to need it! ;D
      I've been busy collecting berries and not all from the country lanes. I'm experimenting and freezing portions of the wonderful blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in the hope that I'll be able to use and enjoy them throughout the winter months.
      So far so good :D

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment.
      Enjoy your weekend

  2. what an amazing poem and beautiful photos, nothing better than black berries warm from the sun!

    1. Hmm...unfortunately hardly any sun over the last 24 hours Laurie, but we'll enjoy the berries all the same ;D
      I'm going to try and freeze some this time in the hope that we can enjoy them over the coming winter months.
      Not sure this will work but so far so good :D

      Have a wonderful weekend...hopefully the sun will come out to play

  3. Hi Neesie
    great poem .... I think Jamie Oliver has just written a new book about free food and stuff like blackberry picking.... my girls used to love going.... nature is wonderful isn't it

    1. Oh no...does this mean I need to buy yet another Jamie Oliver book...I've got 8 already! ;D
      I just love him though...he's just so passionate, down to earth and can connect with anyone and everyone :D
      Unfortunatley my kids are too busy to go berry picking, so McMuffy came along instead. She wasn't much help really...just constantly sniffing and mooching about ^..^
      She was more interested in bunnies not berries!

      Enjoy your weekend...I hope it's a good one

  4. Loved picking blackberries! What a fab view! I so love wide open spaces...FL is rather closed in with a lot of jungle type growth. :/ But I love the heat. Thanks as always for sharing. Hugs

    1. It's my pleasure to share with you Nan...but maybe you could do me a favour and share some of your heat? ;D
      Yesterday came as a little shock to us all with a very cool wind which reminders us of what might lie ahead ~ Brrrr!

      Have a great weekend and I'll look forward to the postie bringing that heat :D

  5. Replies
    1. Aww...thank you Sandy :D
      It was short and sweet, which isn't like me at all hehe

      I hope your weekend is enjoyable whatever you get up to ;D

  6. Hi Neesie
    I miss blackberry picking! Nothing like heading out with the Tupperwear pots in all shapes and sizes and getting something for free!! Even returning covered in scratches and sneezing from the last of the summer pollen it was worthwhile, you can't beat a nice blackberry and apple pie with custard..

    1. It was very enjoyable Wren...but maybe along with the Tupperwear containers, I'll take some gloves next time! I now look like I've got some dreaded lurgy with black stumps for fingers! :$

      Apple and blackberry pie is on the menu today...so come on over!
      I'll even make custard...how's that? ;D

      Enjoy your springy weekend and election sausage sizzles! LOL

  7. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem and photographs. It was an inspirational way to start the day and my weekend. Blessings!

    1. That's lovely to hear Arnoldo :D

      But the weekend's over here and I'm already into Monday morning...sigh...but I plan to dedicate some time this week to art!
      It's a good feeling.

      Blessings to you too

  8. Hope you get a pail full of blackberries. Thank you for the poem.


    1. I hope you're sitting down Darla because I collected 2.5 kilos!!!
      I made an apple and blackberry crumble yesterday and have frozen quite a large amount. That way we can have lovely berries in the winter months! ;D

      I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are ready for another fun packed week?

  9. Oh what memories you and Seamus evoke of blackberry picking when we were children, and the blackberries were so abundant where we lived then in the south of England. And our mother would make blackberry pie and blackberry and apple jam.
    Very appropriate to use the Heaney poem, I think he died last week or the week before - I'm sure I heard a piece about him on the Sunday evening BBC Obituary programme. A strange taste, but always interesting.
    Something fascinating about your bales photo - most of the bales are round, but two in the centre are block-shaped. Now what happened there, I wonder.
    I enjoyed this mouth-watering post, thank you.

    1. It's nice to reminisce now and again isn't it Jez?
      I'm happy to hear you have such good memories from your childhood and that I've brought them to the fore ;D

      I was torn between making a pie, crumble, jam or jelly! What to do? But in the end crumble won for quickness and ease.
      You are correct, Seamus sadly died a few weeks ago. I read his poem on the same day that I picked the blackberry's and thought it was so appropriate to pay my little tribute to him.

      I've also been checking the bales in the fields after your very observant observation (which I have to admit I missed) and today there are about 20 square bales stacked into a tower! I have no idea why, but if I meet the farmer I'll certainly ask him why he decided to change the shape! hehe
      Maybe he just got fed up of circles...there have been quite a lot in all the fields around and about :D

      I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to my place...roll on the weekend and no matter what you get up to...have lots of fun!
      Thanks for stopping by xoxo

  10. What a great poem. Brings it all back to life if you have ever been out berry picking. But we never picked enough for them to go bad--LOL! Hope you get some sunshine this fall. :)

    1. It is indeed a great poem Rita,
      Although I don't like the part about them rotting though. I must admit that they never do in our house ;D

      We've had lots more sun thanks, but as I type this the weather has turned wet and grey for the evening. Never mind I'll just think about all the gardens and plants that need it!

      It'll soon be the weekend so let's hope that the sun reappears.
      Have fun and chat again soon


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