Blackberries ― for Nina


When we emerge from the woods
Into the open sun-soaked field
Both sides of the path
Are lined with dense thickets
Of blackberries.
We lift our granddaughter
Out of the stroller
And the three of us get to work
Seeking out the blackest, softest
Knobbly little packages
Of sweetness and inner light
And popping them into our mouths.
Oh, is it not a wondrous world?
On these outings
The little girl’s attention span
Determines our schedule and itinerary
So we wait for her to decide
When to move on
And continue picking and eating
For several more minutes
Until she figures
She’s been pricked and poked enough
And it’s time to go.
As we are leaving
She picks a few more berries
This time green ones
That she can hold in her hand
As we walk.
She is a collector
Of all manner of outdoor treasure –
Seeds, leaves, wildflowers
Feathers, acorns, rocks –
And a handful of small hard unripe blackberries
Is quite a prize.
May it always be so.

By Buff Whitman-Bradley

girl picking berries


Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poetry has been published in many print and online journals including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Hawai’i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesday, Watershed Review, and others. He has written several books of poems, including When Compasses Grow Old, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World, and Cancer Cantata. He was the producer of the Courage to Resist Audio Project and co-producer of two documentary films, Outside In and Por Que Venimos. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

Photo of girl picking berries by maximkabb.

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