Wednesday, 3 August 2011


When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.
Mary Oliver

I love this poem.  It sums up so eloquently, but with utter simplicity, the delight of foraging 
in the summer months. In August. 
The pure joy that comes from being amongst nature.  The stillness, the feeling of being 
a tiny piece in the world's big picture.  It is a poem full of the graceful force of being 
alive!  Eating, moving, stretching, roaming.  
Murphy's Law?!
It has a reflected clarity so easily recognisable, 
by any who have wandered, gathering berries, by the river, along hidden bramble banks, or 
nettle-guarded woods.
Bramleys and Blackberries
In turn I have laughed to myself today, thinking about how sharply in contrast one of my 
favourite blackberry haunts is.  

The ginnel behind my house.  It hides the most perfect blackberries I have ever seen.  
Even the birds seem to know nothing of its existence.  The berries grow to such proportions they would n't look out of place amongst the supermarket's gleamingly, mega farmed 
Away from the wildlife, hanging up high and over a wall, between houses, they 
glean the very most sunshine, growing to be gloriously fat and liquescent!

After I have been tootling along with the small folk, by the canal, or across the old 
railway bridge and gathered as many as little limbs can manage, I slip out through the gate 
in the garden wall.   An Urbanite's Harvest.  
The Urbanite's Harvest
Not for jam or to be hidden in cake, oh no.  These will be secreted away to the recesses of 
the freezer, only to be brought back to the table, when the days are short and cold, and 
mornings misty.  
Then they will bejewel our porridge, bringing with them a little whisper, a poem about those long warm summers days past and of more to come.



Betty-thewoodfairy said...

I have to laugh at myself - I googled ginnel 'a northerners name for a passage between two buildings' ... I really must get out more - preferably blackberry picking!

Anonymous said...

Picking blackberries reminds me of the summer holiday I spent with my grandad. I went home with very stained purple hands.

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