Saturday, September 21, 2013

Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

Anne and I went to the market together this gorgeous fall morning. I drank coffee and fed her raspberries and bites of a maple-pecan scone. As we sat, I read her some poems by Seamus Heaney. I wanted to share one with you.


for Philip Hobsbaum

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls swelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

1 comment:

  1. so incredibly beautiful! especially in a summer like this, when i've been setting aside a portion of all our market buys (or garden grows or farm trips) to freeze :) i'm glad to have stumbled on your blog! xo, lauren franzen