Daylight robbery

1 September 2011 § 15 Comments

Blackberry picking
(with apologies to Seamus Heaney)

Summer sits
In fat, black clots,
Sun-warm in tubs
That once held ice-cream.

Thorns tear at hands, clothes,
Punishing our thievery,
Staining light fingers
Dark with juice.

And, neatly packed in glossy flesh,
The sun comes home with us
To rise again in steam and sweetness
When the cold days fall.

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§ 15 Responses to Daylight robbery

  • slpmartin says:

    What a delightful memory to have come this winter. πŸ˜‰

  • belfastdavid says:

    You bring back delicious memories Nick.

    I haven’t been blackberry picking in ages.


  • Ina says:

    Hi Nick, lovely image! Those berries are growing here over the fence from the neighbour’s garden, the birds love them. Today I harvested my apples though. They don’t get all. I want to bake applepie πŸ™‚

    • gonecycling says:

      How lovely to have your own apple harvest…and is there anything to beat a home-baked apple pie? I take apples and berries as compensation for the shorter days and rainy bike rides that lie ahead!

  • John Stevens says:

    You have it exactly, Nick! I like the contrast in ‘sun-warm’ and ice cream tubs, and then again in the sun rising again in steam when cold days fall.

    • gonecycling says:

      Thank you John – I first read Heaney’s poem (quite a few) years ago when I was doing A-level English Lit and the images obviously stuck. His poem is still infinitely superiror to mine, though!

  • I love this! It brings back memories of blackberry picking with my children.

    Then the following week buying every stain remover possible. They never work!!!

    “To rise again in steam and sweetness” – I can smell the pie, and the whole cosiness in the household! wonderful

    Christine x

  • Ina says:

    Just read the one by Seamus Heaney

    Late August, given heavy rain and sun
    For a full week, the blackberries would ripen..

    Thank you for pointing me in his direction πŸ™‚

    • gonecycling says:

      My pleasure – Seamus Heaney is one of my literary heroes; I first read his ‘Blackberry Picking’ when I was at school, and it’s stayed with me ever since. His ‘Digging’ is another of my all-time favourites – and for the long winter evenings, his seminal translation of ‘Beowulf’.

  • tikarmavodicka says:

    What a delightful poem! This really had my senses going straining to take in the scent of fresh and then steaming blackberries.
    It must be such a pleasure to be be able to go out and pick your own produce like that.
    We have no such pursuit where I am, I think I may be slightly envious.
    My compensation is summer on the horizon and freshly planted strawberries that hopefully soon will be ready for picking (if the blackbirds don’t get there first!)
    I thouroughly enjoyed your gently flowing recollection of such a lovely day.

    • gonecycling says:

      Thanks you, Tikarma – glad you liked it. The hedges are groaning with fruit again this autumn. Last year, in the fields down by the river, we discovered the mother-lode, where we can pick three or four kilos in less than an hour. Obviously I’m not at liberty to say where it is!

  • Scriptor Obscura says:

    The title of this poem reminded me of this song by Imogen Heap, who is from the UK:

    Excellent poem, and my apologies if you do not like Imogen Heap or her music. Thank you very much for sharing this poem with all of us!

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