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Blackberry-Picking

Seamus Heaney

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blackberrys
2004-03-08
Added by: docter.gp
what an amazing poem,showing the fun of him as a young boy and then the dispare as the fruit rots.amazing
blackberry picking by seamus heaney
2004-04-08
Added by: jenny
Yes indeed this is an amazing poem by seamus heaney. However does anyone really know the meaning behind the black ink and white pages? To me it seems that the sub-themes have loads of violence in them even though its ment to be a poem about a child. An example of this could be 'our hands were peppered with thorns pricks' The proper meaning for peppered is for example someone peppered you with bullets. Its another way for saying full of holes. It seems rather grusome to be about a child to me. The line that i love the most and the strikes me as being odd to be put in this poem is when it says 'Our palms sticky as bluebeard's' If anyone doesn't know the blood thirsty story of Bluebeard. He was a man who murdered his wives. So his hands would be sticky because of the blood that was all over them. So picturing an image of innocent adorable children with bloody hands is rather horrid. However the poem is cleverly disguised and is indeed an enjoyable poem to read.
2004-04-21
Added by: rose
Get a grip. It is blackberry juice. just because Heaney comes from N.Ireland, don't look for violence in everything!
Black berry picking
2004-09-02
Added by: Yolunda
It's true that Seamus Heaney is from Northern Ireland, so his experiences there have shaped his life and are often expressed through his poetry. He uses many war or violence references in most of his poems. Yoou don't have to "look" to see that, its right there in the poem! In "Death of Naturalist", Heaney also talks about the theme of lost innocense and the transition between childhood and the adult world, very similiar to this poem. A line in that poem says "mud grenades" which is obviously to do with violence or feeling threatened by the frogs the that "D.O.A.N" describes.
2004-09-06
Added by: Elaine
The line "with thorn pricks" gives thoughts on the crown of thorns put on Christs head before he was crucified. This is another example of the disturbing images, cleverly disguised by Seamus Heaney.
2004-09-13
Added by: Elle
I think there is a very valid point about the disturbing images created through the simile Heaney has used regarding Bluebeard. I ask the sceptic: why else would he have used the pirate from this particularly gruesome tale? I don't believe it was a mere accident. If you look, you'll find the poem contains other references unusual for a child's point of view: the "lust" for picking and the fact that the berries' "flesh was sweet / like thickened wine". I can't pretend I understand what Heaney is trying to say, but it makes you wonder...
I'm studying this poem for IGCSE so have tonnes of valid points related to the poem which could be useful to others studying it, but honestly - who can really be bothered??
Blackberry-Picking
2004-09-16
Added by: Krista De La O
I think Seamus Heaney's poem has a deeper meaning to it, that there is always a beginning to life but also an end to life
religious symbols?
2004-12-17
Added by: morgan
i wrote an in-class essay on this poem for my ap lit class today, & i was immediately struck by what seems to me to be intense religious symbolism.
why else would heaney say "the flesh was sweet, like thickened wine: summer's blood" ((relating the wine to blood & thus making the connection between the berries & the taking of communion as jesus' blood))?
also, the line about their hands being pricked by thorns, relating to the crown of thorns. how does this all tie in to the deeper meaning of the poem?
2004-12-22
Added by: Chelsea
We read this in my AP English class and I've come to believe this poem to be about a summer romance. It starts with "Late August" and there are definite sexual references (i.e. he mentions the "lust for picking"). Like any relationship, however, it is not without pain and the peppered hands are referring to the fact that though it was a sweet relationship it had holes and could not last. At the end when the fruit rots he says "Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not." Though it would be nice if summer romances lasted they don't. This was just our classes take on the poem.
2005-01-21
Added by: Kimberly
I don't think that there's really enough evidence in the poem to point towards it being about summer romances, although I appreciate it that your teacher is willing to look for different meanings in the poem. When I first read it, I was sure that it was about war because of all the blood imagery as well as for the reasons mentioned above. I wrote an essay on the subject (which was very well supported, if I may say so) that I got an F on because my teacher said that I hadn't interpereted the poem right.

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