A Glut of Blackberries

It had been wet that summer.
Down in Blunts’ Hollow, Pur Brook
commonly a placid tributary
lazy with weed, barely remarked
on its brief passage to the Blithe
had ruptured its margins
drowned the wild garlic
an annual bounty denied us
and engulfed the meadow.

Later, the last of the swallows
thronged the telegraph wires
one day garrulous, gossiping
the next, called south
a memory, enveloping silence
their baked clay homes
under eaves of barn and woodshed
abandoned to autumn rains
gales, and keen, cracking frosts
of oncoming winter.

There followed a late September
of pale mornings, bronze afternoons
ushering thickened air, bruised skies
and reverberant thunders.

Tumult in the heavens.
Convulsions in the soul.

Then, as every autumn
we fell to the business
of pillaging the brambles
plump that year with berries
a glut, nourished by rain
glossed onyx by the lowering sun.

For three days we came
filled pails, baskets, to the lip
gorged bellies till they cramped
and claret-stained our tongues
racing to finish our plunder
by Michaelmas, lest
after, the Devil come by night
and spit on them, trample them
into the loam that bore them.

It was a cheerful time
brimming with laughter
mischief and delight, but always
half-noticed but persistent
the lingering turbulence
of that short season of storms.

For this was the first harvest’s end
that I properly discerned
the passage of seasons.

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7 thoughts on “A Glut of Blackberries

  1. Stunning. And what wonderful place names – ‘Blunts’ Hollow’ and ‘Pur Brook’. I knew I was going to love it as soon as I read those.

    I’m delighted you liked my post earlier, Julian – it means I got to read this, which is right up my street (or perhaps ‘down my lane’ might be more appropriate)… I’m new to blogging and had no idea that it was a platform for poetry too. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

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