Saturday, May 8, 2010


I loved the city, but summer vacations opened another world to me: the countryside. When my babcia was still alive, that meant Carpathia. Here is a poem about one aspect of that experience.


They were the most tender
mercy of the summer,
the long solstice days when we stayed

in the mountains and I picked them
myself, early morning, beaded
with cold dew – or in ripe

afternoon, scented with the sun.
On the edge of a spruce forest,
crouching, half-kneeling,

I picked and ate and ate –
or grandmother bought them
from a country woman,

her thin young daughter
like a shy twig, bent,
carrying twin metal buckets

heavy with sweet darkness,
blue so deep it glowed into black.
Lead me into temptation,

give us days that are endless,
berries to the brim –
though the mountains stepped

farther and farther
into bluish haze,
before being swept

into the golden, chill
corridors of September.

~ Oriana

One of our San Diego poets has an exquisite poem about picking blueberries with a friend. 

You Hear Me Still

We pick up midstream,
as if years were just the pause
between the first blueberries
dropped in a cold pail.

In letters we’ve been able
to go beyond the stilted words,
fathom the pain, the joy,
as if we are children still

picking berries, up before dawn
in the wet woods full of wings
and fur and rustlings,
parallel, out of sight

listening for the crunch of twigs
underfoot, aware of each other
calling softly not to be lost,
not to ruffle the silence.

            ~ Una Hynum



I love Una's "Blueberries" for its understatement.  The images of the blueberry picking are lovely, while the last stanza gives us something ugly that underplays the earlier beauty.  The poem never really tells us what that ugliness is, and so we finish this poem with a sense of mystery and menace.  Well done, Una!  

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the unique qualities in the three poems. Yours, Ivy: those last three lines are such an emotional link between the past and intervening time. Unas: are rich with the sense of people significent to her at different times in her life, and the hidden sensabilty of their passing on. Kathleen Gilroy