It’s blackberry season — my favorite variety of berry by far. And this is one of my favorite poems of all time. I think I first heard Galway Kinnell recite it on a PBS broadcast from the Dodge Poetry Festival when I was middle school. I love the imagery, of course, but I also love how the words Kinnell chooses evoke the mouthfeel of eating a big, fat, plump blackberry. Enjoy!
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 and squinched,
many-lettered, on-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.