A simple poem, I hope, about a simple activity which happens every year in England. September sees the blackberries there, ready to be harvested, stewed, made into jam, eaten fresh.

For human hands they hang (such rich, such ruby pearls!)

in brambling branches under elder-berry showers,

whorls and walls of them.

                                    They are their own soft-centred earls,

a dash of red-black blood, such drops of sheer

blackbloodedness, branched hundreds under heaven.

                                     Throughout these hot, blenched days

their unripe guardians, those red beads

struggling out of hearts of redness,

heavy on the bitter stalk with choiceless beauty –

chosen by the guided hand, by the instinctive bird.

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