"Irish poet Seamus Heaney died this morning. He was only in his 70s and no doubt, had much more poetry to write. I want to share this poem with you because it captures the end-of-summer feelings I have, and also my sadness at his passing. He was really one of my favorites when it came to describing all things earthy."
Blackberry-Picking Seamus Heaney
Late August, given heavy rain and sun For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot Among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills We trekked and picked until the cans were full Until the tinkling bottom had been covered With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's. We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre. But when the bath was filled we found a fur, A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache. The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour. I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot. Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.
I'd like to have a bracelet that reads: What would Matisse do? Not this but the question points in a good direction. Here is another painting done from this bouqet earlier in the month. 30"x40", oil on canvas.
Vacationing in Maine. Its been beautiful. Last night I sat on the floor in my underpants listening to Michael read Harry Potter to Benji and painting pictures of the view accross the lake at sunset. Sweet life!
From the garden on this most beautiful summer day! I am enjoying the warmth and the sunlight so much this year. It was especially nice to realize, while painting, that the tall yellow Phlox and the Hydrangeas were gifts from friends that keep coming back. Thanks!
16"x20", oil on a 3" deep canvas.(Available here.)