To Illustrate: to clarify, explain or describe, through the use of pictures, diagrams or words, a concept or problem.

The concept is food: an amateur's illustration.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Blackberry Picking

by Seamus Heaney

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


  1. Hi Victoria and greetings from California. I stopped by to visit and was intrigued by the blackberry post. My wife and I have a robusr blackberry bush in our back yard and it provides wonderful fruit that we eat in many dishes. At least those that make it past our grandchildren who are also fond of them. You have a delightful blog and I will be back again to enjoy.
    I write a blog as well about food but with my musings on life and love. Stop by, visit. Maybe follow. That would be cool.

  2. Hi Mario,

    Greetings from London! Thank you for you lovely comment. Aren't blackberries just so delicious, it is a shame they are not in season here in England as I could eat them all day long, however October will come around soon I bet! I have been neglecting my blog for a little while but I am back and ready to take on the world of food. I have had a look at your blog and really enjoyed reading some of your pieces. I'll keep you posted.