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Seamus Heaney

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Added by: Charity
Hi I’m 15 and for English class we have to compare two poems from two different genres. I’ve chosen this one, blackberry picking and another, and before I was kind of clueless about this whole poem in general. But I’m not now, and I’d like to thank everyone who has commented here before for putting in your interesting thoughts and theories, because it really really helped me and probably many other people as well…seamus Heaney is quite a clever poet and his work is admirable…I really like this poem…its so innocent and simple, yet deep and meaningful…I agree with everyone else, so I won’t repeat what someone else has already mentioned…So thankyou again…=D
seamus heaney/black berry picking
Added by: john
seamus heaney in the poem blackberry picking mentions blood allot. such as "our palms as sticky as bluebeards" and also it mentions the berrys as being "clots" well blood clots. it then metions the flesh of the berry "the flesh was sweet" which brings you back to blood. also it mentions blood "summers blood is in it". seamus is obviously disguising blood with in his twisted yet joyful poem.
Added by: Sarah
I am also in AP English as a senior, our take on the poem is that it described the sexual experience and the loss of innocence. There are many references to menstruation (the clots and fermented wine). More importantly, the depiction of social maturity and a new knowledge. The reference to Bluebeard is describing how, like the key that kept bleeding in the myth, knowledge is permanent, as when he described he always felt like crying. Also, notice how the stanzas do not always rhyme. Hard rhymes are a symbol of childhood nursery rhymes, but really life is not perfect and promising. The slant rhyme is therefore used.
Added by: Jong
I've also read this for my AP Literature class and we have to create an analysis essay on this poem. I notice, the first time reading this poem, that it talks about keeping and losing. One cannot keep something for so long, only till it "rots". I also thought it relevant to death, how death comes and goes, so applies to life. The first section of the poem gives life - comparing a child's growth with picking blackberries, which I found really useful and able to prove myself. The second section could be germane to death. Throughout the poem, I notice and also questioned myself why the poet used "black"berries rather than strawberries, or blueberries, or rasberry in general. I think "black" in berries hints a relation with death and losing. The title also caught my attention: "Blackberry-Picking." I was thinking if it was "Picking Blackberries", would it make any difference? I found a slight difference, someway in the metaphor view of the poem, that if it was switched to "Picking Blackberries" rather than "Blackberry-Picking".
Added by: Marv
doesnt anyone notice alot of religious undertones? i have tried to analyse these. there are alot of refrences to colours, green and blue could show conflict between catholic and protestant. Red and Purple refer to the robes of cardinals from the RC church. Thorn pricks, blood, heavy rain (noah and the ark). these are just theories so dont blast me for them. I also feel that the actual "picking" itself relates to fighting and conflict. if you use these theories while reading the poem, you'll maybe see what i mean. tata
Added by: Sumaya
I definately see religious connatations in this poem; but also the awakenings of a boy to the harshness of the world.

The fisrt stanza is the voice of a child; lookign forward to eating blackberrires and picking them and so on - the 2nd stanza is about the disappointment, the undertone being looking forward to growing up and experincing life, then the disappointment of being grown up.

Alos, what about the sexual connatations? Perhaps teh dispapoiinment of first love? The underpinnings of teh colour 'red' and the use of words such as 'lust' and blood' supports this idea I think.
Added by: stephen
blackberry picking is about slavery. At a first reading, it doesn't seem so. But after you read the title, you start wondering why he chose blackberries instead of blueberries or rasberries. The bush represents Africa that nourishes its berries, or the africans. the harvester is guilty, and describes them as eyes watching him. Remember how in the slave ships, how slaves were packed so tightly that if one got sick, it would infect the others? In the same way, the hoard of berries seperate from their nourishing branches begin to rot and infect those around it.

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