poem Blackberry Picking by David Fraser

These sharp, honed razor stalks

sprouted up and mixed with broom

coat the scars of land disturbed.

Their stalks reach up and cling to trees,

stretch in tangled barbed islands,

a refuge for quail and rabbit,

snakes and mice.

I wade into the thorny waters

to pick those plump rich berries

just a stretch away,

a scratch away, a curled hand,

two subtle fingers reaching up beneath a leaf,

the juice of picked berries staining

them, rich and red, purple in the shade.

The canes move and grip my hat,

claw at the cotton shoulders of my shirt.

I pick with either hand,

held in a cocoon of time,

lost in picking,

Lost in all the tangles of a life.

I eat a few; the juice exploding on my tongue.

The dogs, tired of chasing rabbits

sit in the long dry grass beside me.

I feed them berries

and they, too, begin to pick from the lower stalks.

We gather together,

the hot sun of a blue sky and a breeze

much a part of us

berries, dogs and me.
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previous publishing history:

Ygdrasil, November 2003 http://www.synapse.net/kgerken/Y-0311.HTM

Going to the Well Poetry Collection 2004 http://www.ascentaspirations.ca/goingtothewell.htm