We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Blackberry-Picking

Blackberry-Picking

  

by Seamus Heaney

Lines 22-24 Summary

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

Lines 22-23

I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.

  • Yep, he's officially bummed.
  • Sense number five! He's used all five senses in this poem: sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch.
  • We also get the hint that maybe he was pretty young to get so upset about rotten fruit.
  • This is also the first time the berries are described outright at "lovely." So our suspicion that these were important to the speaker is confirmed.

Line 24

Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

  • Every year he hoped the berries wouldn't spoil like this, but knew that of course they would.
  • The very end sets up this conflict between a wish and "knowing better." He knows the facts of rotting, but hopes they'll stay perfectly ripe anyway.
  • The "each year" reminds us that this is a tradition for the speaker. That gives it a little more importance, right? That it wasn't just a one-time thing.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement