Gathering the Berries (for Lugnasadh)

We waited every summer for those luscious, wholesome pies
after blackberries were gathered by our noisy laughing gangs
we came home, sun-burned, fingers stained blue-black
with signs of juicy theft lined around our mouths.
Excitement filled our eyes, in the height of summer days.

Later on, the gang dispersed,
grown up or gone away,
and so I took my children then,
with baskets in their hands,
following the winding lanes
that climbed beside the cliffs.
Sun-drenched and slow we went,
seeking out the bilberries
huddled close to ground,
and plundering the hedgerows
competing with the birds.

Reaching home
the time had come.
My turn to make the pies.
I shared out the sweetness
into outstretched bowls
as I watched their sticky smiles.

Now I gather berries
quietly, alone.
I wander as I gather,
tasting as i go,
keeping all the best of them
to warm the winter wine.



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