“Blackberrying” (With Pics)



In a daze of phosphorescent moss,
we make our way across rockbed, log and stalk,
to a field that’s sharply girded against loss
where nettle, thorn, and briar edge our walk.
Our eyes bore in on any sign of sheen,
a glisten beneath a leaf, a garnet chain.
They’re hard to see at first, then like a dream
we find them here and there and there again.
First scrapes sting, branches fiercely snag skin
of wrist, arm, shin, dogged to defend their own.
We reach around, above, even step within
thickets transformed to some more personal zone.
Not even tasting now, nor caring for prickers,
we feel ripeness alone, we blackberry pickers.

Here’s a sonnet for dVerse Poetics Pub anniversary poetics challenge, hosted by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeld, on “process” and also for “With Real Toads.”   Blackberrying is one of my favorite processes on earth.
Have a great weekend. Check out dVerse and, if you have time, my books! They are fun! Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, Going on Somewhere, poetry, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.


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40 Comments on ““Blackberrying” (With Pics)”

  1. For a minute there I thought this would be a poem about the blackberry phone/device! Glad that it was a fresh trail of blackberries instead! Nicely done.

  2. Gay Says:

    Excellent – beautifully composed sonnet…the form disappeared in the read, and the glory of the captured fruit shone through!

  3. Gosh, this bought back memories long since gone of being a child of about 8 and picking blackberries. Loved this 🙂

  4. brian miller Says:

    yum…i absolutely love blackberries…i would take them over chocolate any day…i did not realize it was a sonnet until you said it in the afternote….we used to have some wild near our house…also cherries…both of them stained my hands similar quite often…

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Yes, so good. We used to get so scratched too – and had to tie our dog to a rock as she would wade into the bushes after us and get hopelessly caught. It is a mesmerizing activity.

      Hope you are having a nice vacation. k.

  5. tigerbrite Says:

    Yes, I remember feeling the ripeness. Did not like to eat them as the seeds always stuck between the teeth. Had to be pureed and sieved-

  6. I didn’t realize it was sonnet until you mentioned it K ~

    I also love blackberries ~ Enjoyed the taste of your words ~

  7. Mary Says:

    You’ve definitely made blackberry picking come alive for me in this poem. Not an easy job though!

  8. Laurie Kolp Says:

    Not a fan of blackberries, but we’ve been blueberry picking quite a few times.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      You know, the kind that are commercially available have nothing at all to do with the wild ones. You may have had wild ones, but they are tart and sweet and very flavorful, pretty seedy, and have an incredibly short shelf-life – I do not think they could be shipped. They are a different variety (if not species) from the domesticated ones.

  9. Ooooh, just look at those fabulously stained fingers … what an ace time you must have had despite the scratches 🙂

  10. Anonymous Says:

    This is yummy in so many ways. It is
    Timeless. Your sonnet form reads so beautifully,k, I was nearly lost in it. And in my opinion, every scratch is worth the ripeness alone.

  11. Ruth Says:

    A lovely poem (sonnet, no less! I’m impressed!) – here we’re about a month away from blackberry picking time – it’s a prickly business, isn’t it? but worth it in the end. Love the pics, especially of the blackberry-stained hand.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      These are super early this year. Usually you don’t get any until the very very tail end of July at the earliest, and August is more typical. I am a two-handed picker – I usually stick my container in my pants’waist or a turned-around backpack or something – my kids laugh at me, but it is very effective–but I just filmed one hand. It’s a great technique though if you pick! k.

  12. Claudia Says:

    hmmm…can i get some..? brought back memories when we went picking blackberries as kids and we looked all over like your hand looks on that picture..smiles…a very tasty sonnet k

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Yes – your legs and arms can get pretty purple with scratches! My poor younger daughter when she was a baby, I’d have her in a backpack carrier with my younger daughter, and she’d been wearing a cloth hat, but suddenly we’d hear some wail as a pricker got stuck to the top of her hat, and maybe (okay just a teeny bit) onto her scalp! No lasting damage, and she is an avid picker now. k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      PS _ thanks for all you do, Claudia. k.

  13. Ravenblack Says:

    Sounds like fun. I’ve never gone berry picking before. All the more sweeter if you picked them yourself I bet.

    Enjoyed this poem. 🙂

  14. lucychili Says:

    you get a real sense of being in amongst the branches and finding treasure.

  15. David King Says:

    Great to see the sonnet5 so alive and doing just fine. Top write.

  16. I love the sonnet structure with it’s rhythms and rhymes describing a familiar process in a fresh way. Just had friutti di dosco (with blackberries) gelato yesterday- yummy!

  17. wolfsrosebud Says:

    sweet old feel to this piece… picking berries myself just yesterday… you forgot to mention drowning the Japanese beetle bugs first…smiles

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      You know, they are a relatively new and terrible phenomenon up here. Not so many this year, but they’ve done a lot of damage in the last few years. k.

  18. We went to a U-pick farm this year to get blackberries to make jam. (It is really good!) The berries were good, but not near as good as the wild ones we used to pick back in the day
    Wonderful poem, k! I really like this one!

  19. Love what this poem evokes

  20. Susan Says:

    I love sonnets! And I love blackberries–not the store-bought ones of recent years–the ones we used to have to fight for just as you say and come home scarred from the battle for our reward of a bowl with berries and milk–later for the jello, the pie, the jam. I just bought some Jam at the farmers’ market. The 1/2 pints of blackberries were priced at $5.50!! To me, this is a love poem.

  21. Chazinator Says:

    Lovely and musical. These moments are very special, transporting us to those times that probably resonate with genetic code memories of when humans were hunters/gatherers. Important for us to live/recall these moments, I think. Gets us closer to our humanity. There’s something of the numinous in glimpses like these:

    We reach around, above, even step within
    thickets transformed to some more personal zone.

  22. Mama Zen Says:

    Beautifully done! I miss picking blackberries.

  23. markwindham Says:

    ah, my mom used to make the best blackberry cobbler… just coming into full ripeness around here as well. good good.

  24. ds Says:

    Mmmmm…blackberries. One for the bucket & two for me ; )
    Wonderful sonnet. Thank you.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. I know that feeling. But, you know, once you really get into picking you don’t taste at all much. (Or at least I find that we don’t.) We (my daughters and I) are a bit obsessive though once we get started. k.

  25. This is so true:
    “thickets transformed to some more personal zone”

    It does transform into another world, deep inside the thickets.

    I am so jealous. I had blackberry vines once.

  26. vivinfrance Says:

    This is probably the most enjoyable poem I have read today. A favourite Autumn pastime of mine made beautiful in words. I’m looking forward to jelly time soon!

  27. We grew up with a wild blackberry bush run wild in the back yard, and I remember well the fight for the juicy treasures. What a great rhyme scheme (actually recognized the sonnet!), especially because the rhymes came naturally. Not one felt forced. This is a slice of life – which could turn into a slice of pie if you’re lucky! Peace, Amy

  28. kaykuala Says:

    What treasures the backyard can offer! Nicely crafted K.


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