Blackberry Picking - Seamus Heaney

457 Words2 Pages
1. Structure: The poem has been effectively divided into two verses. The first verse shows his desire to pick and eat these berries and to what length he could go to, to receive the heavenly taste “Wit thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s”. The first verse is about how delicious the blackberries are and how the berries tempted them. The berries lured them so much that they would collect as much as they could at a time and it almost seems like an addiction. Addiction is usually considered wrong and the fact that the persona refers to “Bluebeard” (a fairy tale pirate who used to kill his wives) compares their sins to Bluebeard’s. In the second stanza the berries start to rot and the enjoyment starts to fade away however the persona wants to linger on to it. This can be compared to the fact that all the enjoyments and pleasures of childhood seem to fade away but the desire for it to remain. The same blackberries become stinky and disgusting which reflects to the story of Death of a Naturalist. 2. Imagery: In the first stanza the persona vividly describes the scenery to place the reader in the exact place of the persona. The reader is therefore able to start to “feel” the text after which the berries are introduced. The berries are described with sensuous imagery so that the reader can imagine the taste, smell, touch and sight of the blackberries. Simple blackberries are described as addictive wine “Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it”. In complete contrast to this the fungus on the blackberries is later described as rat-like which creates a disgusting image in one’s mind. The same blackberries that the persona lures us into and makes us feel how great it is, is presented in such a manner that it becomes revolting. 3. Extended metaphor: The poem is narrative and tells the story of picking blackberries but has a much deeper meaning. Like Death
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