Study Guide

Blackberry-Picking Lines 8-10

By Seamus Heaney

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Lines 8-10

Lines 8-9

Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots

  • The lust question gets answered pretty quickly. They're only after the berries.
  • The "you" mentioned near the beginning has now turned into "us."
  • Line 8 means that seeing the very nearly ripe ones gets them psyched to go picking because they know the time is right and that these berries will be ripe soon.
  • They go out with any container that will hold the berries – way to recycle!

Line 10

Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.

  • They're going off the beaten path for these berries, even hunting around thorn bushes.
  • The wet grass might be from the rain we learned about in the first line or perhaps it's dewy and early in the morning. Either way, their boots are getting a little wet.

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