Galway Kinnell

(1 February 1927 / Providence, Rhode Island)

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.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • * Sunprincess * (5/27/2014 11:20:00 AM)

    .......a beautiful poem....with beautiful imagery....would love to have some blackberries at this moment... (Report) Reply

  • Kerry Wood (8/17/2008 12:23:00 AM)

    I am not sure whether to call this poem a sonnet or a quatorzain. It is not rhymed iambic pentameter, but it has the typical octave/sestet meaning shift of conventional sonnets. I note that other poets (Robert Hayden, for instance) call their unrhymed free verse 14-liners sonnets. I have never seen Mr. Kinnell's poem so labeled. Can anyone give me a clue? I have written extensively aboout the poem but don't know what to call it in terms of traditional forms. (Report) Reply

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