Friday, September 06, 2013

Poetry Friday: Seamus Heaney

I'm sure there will be a lot of Seamus Heaney posts today, since he died last week.  Someone posted this one on Facebook.  I wasn't familiar with it, but it's perfect for the occasion, speaking as it does of impermanence and seizing the moment.

Blackberry Picking
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.

You can read the rest, and hear it read aloud, here

Bonus: this great story by a writer who tried - and failed - to get an interview with Heaney, but got a poem instead.

Today's roundup is hosted by Author Amok


Tabatha said...

That is a great story you sent us to -- Mr. Heaney sounds like such a wonderful person, in addition to being a beloved poet.

Author Amok said...

I agree -- what appeals to me about this poem is the balance between childhood and an awareness (even *in* childhood) that it doesn't last.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Great minds think alike...this was the poem knew I had to share this Poetry Friday, too!

GatheringBooks said...

So nice to see this poem again. Much love given to Seamus Heaney this week, as it should be.

Violet N. said...

Thank you, Ruth, for the poems and the story! You might enjoy the tribute to Seamus Heaney blogged by the Brit poet Malcolm Guite. It's HERE.

Mary Lee said...

His body's voice is silenced, but not the voice of his work. He will live on forever.