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Poetry commentary on Seamus Heaney's Blackberry-Picking

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Introduction

Poetry commentary on Seamus Heaney's Blackberry-Picking The smell of disappointment. In the poem Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney the narrator is an adult remembering an element of his childhood of which he has mixed feelings. The poet conveys a literal description of picking blackberries in late August but also shows the reader the disappointments we have to face in our life and how to learn from them. Seamus Heaney uses rich language to awaken the reader's senses and make them more aware of the world he is trying to portray. In the first stanza of the poem the tone is one of innocence. The narrator tells the reader about the childhood excitement of picking berries and the thorn pricks they endured for the sweet flesh. ...read more.

Middle

These children "hoarded the fresh berries in the byre" hoping to keep the "glossy purple clots" for as long as possible. However the children return to find fur on the fresh berries and that "the sweet flesh [had gone] sour." The narrator as a boy would always cry with disappointment. But as the year went on he seemed to forget what had happened that fall and would do the same thing the next year. The last line, "Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not." shows the reader that each year the boy would trust that the berries would stay good but deep down remembers how he had been betrayed the previous times and prepares himself for yet another disappointment. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because of this the blood may represent the positive experience of picking and eating the berries when they are fresh or may foreshadow the negative letdown at the end when the berries become rancid. The personification in the line "a rat-grey fungus, glutting on our catch." makes the mold seem to be like a monster that is attacking the berries for his own pleasure. Blackberry-picking is the memory of a man's childhood experiences and how he learned disappointment. It also teaches us to accept the misfortunes in our life and to forgive but not forget the experiences. With the use of imagery and comparisons the reader is drawn into the life of the narrator and can feel his pain and his joy. The reader can also see the narrator's passion with the use of specific words and vivid verses. ...read more.

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