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Most of them are instead off-rhymes or pararhymes at best: , and so on.As in Wilfred Owen’s war poems, the pararhyme suggests that something is not quite right, and rhyme seems too neat and glib a way of rendering such an unsettling and disillusioning experience. And this is because by now the speaker has come to terms with his disillusionment and can face it squarely in the face, especially now he’s a bit older.
Blackberry Picking is a poem rich in imagery and symbolism -from the macabre linking of the fruit to a ‘plate of eyes’ capable of staring at the young Heaney and intensifying his sense of guilt, to the link between this apparently innocent fruit picking and the altogether more guilt-ridden picking of forbidden fruit in Eden and subsequent punishment through the perpetual torment described in the closing line – ‘each year I hoped… Here Heaney uses the trochaic substitution of the 4th foot to drive home the sense of despair as his hopes are dashed annually.
Blackberry-Picking BY SEAMUS HEANEY Late August, given heavy rain and sun For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
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Image: Seamus Heaney in the studio with his portrait by Colin Davidson.
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(There might even be a faint recollection of Angus’ description of another murderer, Macbeth: ‘Now does he feel / His secret murders sticking on his hands’.) Life and death, sex and murder, procreation and destruction, are thus bound up in Heaney’s description of the blackberry-picking.
The disillusionment is also subtly conveyed through Heaney’s use of rhyming couplets – or rather, couplets that don’t quite rhyme.
‘Blackberry-Picking’ helped to make Seamus Heaney a success almost overnight, along with the other poems in his first volume.
We hope this analysis has offered some suggestion of why it is such a triumph of a poem, such a satisfying portrayal of disappointment.