Blackberry-Picking by 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. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

This poem is about childhood memory of innocence, maturation and disillusionment with the harsh reality. At first, given all the good conditions, the speaker can taste delicious ripen berries. However, later on, despite all the hard work with good intentions spent on picking those fruitful blackberries, he realizes that bad things do happen and would turn good things into destruction. And maturation is a process of going through bad and unfair experience but still keeping optimism yet knowing that the reality is not what we expect.

I know God makes this heart of mine

I know God makes this heart of mine
It is tender, sweet and kind
When people say nasty stuff to me
or treat me rudely
I don’t return them with the same manner
But show them to God with my bleeding heart
and wait for Him to heal my wounded soul.

I know God makes this heart of mine
It is quiet, weak and pure
When something is not right
I would immediately turn away
without challenging the line
I would rather lose out than commit a sin against God

I know God makes this heart of mine
When I cannot live like others as if without heart.

The Story, Around the Corner by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Story, Around the Corner
is not turning the way you thought
it would turn, gently, in a little spiral loop,
the way a child draws the tail of a pig.
What came out of your mouth,
a riff of common talk.
As a sudden weather shift on a beach,
sky looming mountains of cloud
in a way you cannot predict
or guide, the story shuffles elements, darkens,
takes its own side. And it is strange.
Far more complicated than a few phrases
pieced together around a kitchen table
on a July morning in Dallas, say,
a city you don’t live in, where people
might shop forever or throw a thousand stories
away. You who carried or told a tiny bit of it
aren’t sure. Is this what we wanted?
Stories wandering out,
having their own free lives?
Maybe they are planning something bad.
A scrap or cell of talk you barely remember
is growing into a weird body with many demands.
One day soon it will stumble up the walk and knock,
knock hard, and you will have to answer the door.

The poet supposes the story (of her concern) will take a twist and turn, not as straightforward as like common talk. When circumstances change, the elements of the story are turning dark and take its own side. The poet feels strange because the story is actually far more complicated than what people tell in a city which only knows shopping and where the poet does not live in and does not belong to. But the people whom don’t know the real side of the story will give out different kinds of versions of the story. The story seems like having its own life and ever-changing freely. The poet does not dare to tell a tiny bit of her story because she is confused that if it is what the people in the city want to hear. The poet even doubts if the stories which wander around in the city are being told with a hideous motive behind. The bits and pieces of the story are starting to catch the attention of people who want to know the truth and the poet feels that someday she has a responsibility to tell the real story when the demand is growing high.