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by Seamus Heaney

Blackberry-Picking Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Besides blackberries, what do you think this poem might be about? What hints does Heaney give to support your opinion?
  2. What effect does using all five senses have on the poem?
  3. Why do you think Heaney chose blackberries to get across his message(s)? Could he have chosen another fruit or vegetable? A different memory?
  4. What's up with the religious undertones (the blood/wine/flesh stuff)? Why do you think Heaney includes them?
  5. This poem definitely has a dark side. Which moments (words, phrases) really bring out the dark side?

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