Feb 26, 2007

"Short and very Sweet"

by Rene Allen

Today for my blog, I would like to share a favorite poem by Galway Kinnell (Selected Poems, Houghton miffin, 1982), which describes with delectable imagery some of my feelings about writing. For me, there is an added bonus because this poem pulls me directly back through time to my grandmother's house, to blackberry brambles and purple stained fingers, and dumplings at the end of the day. I hope you enjoy it.

Blackberry Eating
I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.


  1. This is an extremely visual poem. I was there even though I'm a military brat and have never ever been on a farm or seen food outside of grocery store.

  2. We live in a land overrun with blackberries. What an interesting thing that the prickles (more like savage thorns) are a penalty for knowing the black art.

    I love the comparison of the berries falling on the tongue, as words do, sometimes. I'll tell you another thing about blackberries: sometimes when you're just ready to pick one, it falls to the ground and is lost to you. Words are like that sometimes, too. Especially when you're sixty-five.

  3. Good thinking, though Liz. An expanded metaphor! I laughed because I understand. Rene

  4. Very nice. I too love the imagery.

  5. What fun! I miss my blackberry, raspberry, huckleberry picking summers. (sigh) Oh, but now, thanks to Rene and Liz, I can revisit the experiences through my writing! Cool!


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.