Riehlife Poem of the Day: Galway Kinnell’s “Blackberry Eating,” from “Mortal Acts, Mortal Words”—poetry of sounds!

Blackberries “en bushed”

Sign of the times: Google “blackberry” and what comes up is a mechanical device, not a fruit. To find the fruit on Google, you must type in “blackberry fruit.” Vis: more people have likely held Blackberry devices in their hands these days than have gone berrying and experienced the pleasures Kinnell describes in his delicious poem.

Read my Riehlife account of berrying here “Country Mouse…berrying…pie for dinner on the screened-in porch”. —JGR


Galway Kinnell[click for bio]
Mortal Acts, Mortal Words[click to own]

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.

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