Black Berry Pickings Poem Analysis

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Blackberry Picking

Overall Idea: A look-back into Seamus Heaney’s childhood when he was picking blackberries, but the joy and the tastiness of the blackberries was short-lived, showing the theme of passage in time.

Theme: Time Passage
* When looking at the tense of the poem, the reader can notice that the poem is written in past-tense, which can give a sense of time to the reader. * The indications of this being a reminiscent of the past: “Late August” (Line 1), “At first” (Line 3). * The first line sets the setting of the poem: remembering the past. * The allusion from the blackberries show passage in time and the usage of the blackberries can be a symbolism of time as well. * Line 4 “… others, red, green” green being the youth the blackberries, which can also be a symbol of one’s youth or life. * Line 3 “… glossy purple clot...” purple being the prime of the blackberries, which can also be a symbol of one’s time of great triumph or beauty. * The tonal change between the first and the second stanza. * 1st stanza: the sense if endless enjoyment in the tone * Enjambment line which plays a role as continuous joy, which was the actions of blackberry pickings. * There is no break to the imagery (extensive).

* Using words such as “sticky” in the imagery can show the importance of the blackberries to the poet. * Usage of words such as “sweet” Line 5 can indicate the childlike persona and tone of the poem. * Usage of imagery and language.

* Deadly Sins: feelings that is stronger in youth. * Line 5 “Its flesh was sweet”, Line 7 “… and lusts for”, Line 8 “That hunger” * Bluebeard: allusion to the fairy tale

* Where his palms were sticky with blood
* These allusions and imagery can be seen as ‘guilty pleasure’ of Heaney’s youth. * 2nd stanza: the sense of death and hopelessness...
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