Blackberry-Picking Seamus Heaney Commentary

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Blackberry-Picking Blackberry-Picking is a poem written by the great Seamus Heaney. The poem creates a contrast between Heaney’s perceptions of the world as a child to his new perception as he begins to grow up. Once again, similar to his other poems, he addresses the theme of childhood memories. The poem surrounds the constant use of different imageries and an irregular rhyme scheme to describe the feelings the writer endures while picking blackberries. The poem includes two stanzas that were filled with opposite contents, the first stanza being twice as long as the second. It is settled in late august, in the season of autumn. Within the poem, the persona seems to be waiting all year, to finally get the pleasure of harvesting his blackberries but eventually he watches them rot, ending the excitement. The feeling of hope and excitement kicked off in stanza one. Heaney uses a tone of expectancy in the first two lines. He shows a glint of hope by mentioning the month august, the time of harvesting. The excitement led him to pick the first “glossy purple cloth” conveying the fragile structure of the berry. The purple-colored ripened fruits were compared to the unripen ‘green’ and ‘red’ ones. He waits patiently for the others to ripe, as they were “hard as a knot”. “You ate the first one and its flesh was sweet like thickened wine”. Heaney uses a simile, comparing the sweetness of the berry to that of wine. He emphasizes on it, expressing that “summer’s blood” was the reason for its thick consistency. The summer weather becomes a part of the fruit, permitting it to grow to maturity. Yet, a negative connotation is brought out, as the berries seem to have left “stains upon the tongue and lust for…Picking”. Heaney presents to us and enjambment followed by a rejet. He takes us from the ambiguous to the specific. The word “lust” arrests our attention at one

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