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Komunyaka's poem is a masterpiece of poetry that uses poetic instruments, including imagery and metaphor, to help the reader express the intended meaning. The language and the metaphor used in the poem are fascinating and catching the reader's interest as well as indicating the themes of the poem. Speaker in this poem is a man who looks back at his childhood days spent in the countryside and remembers the experiences that influenced his life. The poem begins with a clear picture as the speaker states that his hands are stained with berries like that of a printer. This imagery indicates how the persona has worked hard picking berries until his hands are dirty and stained. Komunyakaa creates imagery by showing how the boy picks the blackberries in the thicket of the woods. The poem reads “Terrestrial sweetness, so thick/ The damp ground was consecrated” (Komunyakaa). This imagery indicates how the speaker had to endure the hard times in the woods to pick the berries. Moreover, passing the big blue car containing children that smirk at the persona is imagery, and the reader sees how this act demoralizes the boy.
Picking berries are a metaphor of hope. The boy becomes excited after waiting for a year for the berries to ripe. He even sells them to earn money for a living. Again, the speaker desires to keep the fresh berries showcasing a metaphor of the human desire to keep what is good in life. Furthermore, the poem is a metaphor for living life to the fullest. It portrays the need of embracing all that is bountiful, wonderful, fresh and beautiful in life. This metaphor is derived from tasting the richness of the fully ripened blackberries as the boy does while picking. Essentially, the poem implies that life will not always enriches us with great experiences or memories. Elucidating to this is the line that concerns how the speaker is demoralized by the big blue car and the children who sneer at him making him sweat.
The poem of blackberries portrays a number of themes revolving around life experiences and social issues. This includes low economic and social status attesting to poverty. The boy picks the berries with a sole intention of selling them to earn money. The low economic status of the persona makes him work hard. Indeed, the opening asserts to the boy working hard as his hands are stained with berries. Undoubtedly, the reader could conclude that the survival and the existence of the speaker depend on the berries. Line 16 shows that after picking berries, the boy goes to stand beside the “City Limits Road” where he hopes to sell them (Komunyakaa). He tries to sell them to the passengers in the cars. This portrays the theme of poverty underlined in the low economic status of the individual. The boy sells the berries at one dollar per a container to earn money that would enable him to survive. Line 18 reads “Limboed between worlds, repeating one dollar” (Komunyakaa). Presumably, the sense of superiority displayed by the children in the big blue car makes the boy feel inferior reminding him of enduring hard times. Transition into adulthood is also an underlining factor in the poem. Notably, when the poem ends, the readers see that the boy enters the painful world of adulthood where social class and work play a significant role in one's life.
Komunyakaa Yusef. Blackberries. Dandeliondiadem’s Weblog. 2009, https://dandeliondiadem.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/blackberries-by-yusef-komunyakaa/. Accessed 23 Sep. 2017.
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