* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search