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by Seamus Heaney

Lines 11-14 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 11-12

Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,

  • They searched and picked all over until the cans they brought back were filled to the brim.
  • These lines give a good sense of where they are, too. It's definitely a rural place, probably farmland.
  • You get a sense that they were working pretty hard, and covering a lot of ground.

Lines 13-14

Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned

  • Sense number four! "Tinkling" refers to the sound the pail makes when the harder green berries hit the bottom.
  • The blackberry-pickers seem to arrange them like this: green ones on the bottom, redder ones in the middle, and "the big dark blobs" are the purple – the ripest – ones on top.
  • "Burned" is a weird way to end the line, wouldn't you say? It makes us want to jump down to the next line to figure out what he's talking about.

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