Berry Picking by Will Reger

These are the woods
Where my mother played,
Her playhouse €”an outline of
Stones on the ground.
Beside the creek
Her father gardened,  
But the water rose
And spread his seeds  
Among the trees.
Summer was the time
For berry picking.
We each took a bucket,
Walked into the woods
And filled it with berries.
The aunts said, “Don’t pick
The unripe berries,
The rosy green ones,
The color of dawn:
Pick the ripe ones,
Black as hell,
Full of the sun
And ready to explode.”
At the edge of the woods
A castle of canes,
Curving thorns
As sharp as shark’s teeth
Kept us out,
But Grandma’s dog,
An arthritic hound,
His black coat sleek
And hot from the sun
Bayed at some creature and
Shambled after it
Into the thicket.
Above, two eagles
Breasted the wind
Like knives at the ready,
Their scything shadows
Swept across us.
All of this happened,
Nothing remarkable:
But memory sanctifies
Lost moments like this,  
This day of picking
Berries, this day
Of eating fat berries
Till the juice fills our veins.

Will Reger has contributed several poems to WIZ. You can find his bio here.

Photo by Lewis Collard via Wikimedia Commons.


After Michaelmas by Jonathon Penny

Robert Moore, Blackberry Orchard in Snow, 5/12/11

No devil-watered blackberries,
Whose succulence is long past anyway,
Since Winter’s chill blew down the collar of the wood,
Swept clean the dell and dingle, copse and field.

Sweep clean the dell and dingle, halt the yield,
Hibernia’s onset blast! Freeze crop and crud!
They’ll shiver in a gasp of shorter days
And doff their autumn liveries.


Photo by Robert Moore via Creative Commons. Find more from Jonathon Penny here.