Blackberry Picking- Seamus Heaney Analysis

1359 words 6 pages
Blackberry Picking- Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet who was born in Mossbawn farmhouse and spent fourteen years of his childhood there. Many of his poems are based on personal experience; ‘Mid-term Break’, for example, was based on the death of his younger brother; and are laid out in settings akin to those he is familiar to. His poem, ‘Blackberry Picking’, is set on a farm and explores the simple luxury of picking fresh, ripe blackberries, his inspiration quite possibly being his own childhood.
Thematically, the poem explores the idealistic nature of childhood, and the importance of waking up to reality as one grows older. The beginning of the poem is filled with a vivid passionate recollection of the seasonal picking of
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The description of summer’s blood in the berries, and the lust for picking them conveys an extremely passionate feeling towards these fruits, a blood lust. The children, ‘scratched by briars’, are willing to suffer to gain possession of these sweet fleshed berries.
In contrast, the second stanza contains lesser enjambment, and this restricts the flow of thoughts and ideas. The realisation that the berries have decayed stands in stark contrast to the joy felt when picking and eating the berries on the fields. This realisation is almost jerky, and comes in spurts, unlike the continuous sweetness of the berries in the previous stanza.
There are copious amounts of imagery throughout the poem, and this helps create clear, vivid images in the mind’s eye of the reader. The glossiness of the berries and the different colours are tiny details that one usually wouldn’t remember; this vivid recollection therefore establishes clear pictures for the readers. ‘Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam pots’; this line creates a picture of children marching through the fields with just about any form of storage they could get their hands on in order to collect their beloved blackberries. The kids go ‘Round hayfields, cornfields and potato drills’. This listing of different places recreates a mental image of the farm that Heaney describes; a place that is possibly close to his heart because it is where he grew up.