Task: Choose a poem that deals with an aspect of ordinary living. Analyse the poem showing how it... .
Pleasures are like poppies spread You seize the flower, its bloom is shed Bums Seamus Heaney's sensual and disturbing poem 'Blackberry -Picking' explores aspects of ordinary living and enables us to see clearly the truth about a core element of human nature. This engaging piece of verse, written early in the Nobel laureate's career, exposes humans' perpetual desire for pleasure and the seemingly inescapable negative consequences attached to this pursuit. The poem is produced in a style readers familiar with Heaney will recognise: the deeper meaning is heavily cloaked in metaphor, and is therefore made clearer and more emphatic once understood. Upon reflection of these underlying themes about ordinary life, the reader experiences the clarity of vision usually associated with seeing something for the first time; this is a quality Heaney has claimed is essential to poetry. The poem is, on the surface, about a boy's experiences at berry-picking time in the countryside. The anticipation and participation in this apparently very pleasant practice is conveyed for most of the first stanza of this two stanza piece. The poet describes an insatiable appetite (that verges upon greed) for indulging in the activity. In the latter part of this first stanza, however, a far less hedonistic mood can be detected by a very noticeable change in lexical choice and imagery; indeed, guilt and perhaps even remorse are evident here. In the second stanza the picked fruit becomes grotesque as it decays and the inevitable destructive forces of time take effect: Primarily, it is necessary to detail the larger metaphor which is relevant from the very beginning of the poem - the title: 'Blackberry-Picking'. The concept of picking fruit has irreducible associations with the Biblical story of Genesis - an explanation of creation and mankind's fall from a state of innocence to one of sin and...
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