The Poem, “Blackberries” (1992), by Yusef Komunyakaa is a retrospective look
In the Day of a life experienced by the author as a seller of blackberries when he was a
10 year old child. It is told from a first persons perspective so as to pronounce the level of
Intimacy to the narrative relative to the poet. In this essay, I’ll give a brief analysis of my
Thoughts on the poem and its effectiveness as an artistic literature.
In recounting the nostalgiac setting of summer, while working as a berry picker
And seller, the author attempts paint an image of the emotional and sensual complexities
laden through an average day on the streets: “Although I could smell old lime-covered History, at
ten I’d still hold out my hands and berries fell into them. Eating from one and filling a half gallon with
the other. “ (MLM , Komunyakaa, “Blackberries” PPG 147-148) .
Through his description in detailing the labor of picking berries and being challenged not
to eat them, he showcases a conflict that he’s clearly been faced with, in the face of his duty.
This conflict is later alluded to, from a more lustful point of view later in the piece.
When the author posit’s his disposition even further, he goes on to say: “I ate the
mythology & dreamt of pies & and cobbler, almost…” (MLM, Komunyakaa, “Blackberries” PPG 147-
148). It seems with this statement the author is implying that he is impoverished. When he
uses the memories of his poverty as a child in his descriptions, it gives the poem a very
melancholic tone; one of sympathy, even. Yet, still, in recounting these days of hardship,
he still finds the nostalgia of being with his dog and among nature’s elements. :
“Needful as forgiveness. My bird dog Spot. Eyed blue jays & thrashers. The mud frogs in rich blackness,
hid from daylight.” (MLM, Komunyakaa, “Blackberries” PPG 147-148) . To balance the conflict
with a longing to be in simpler times, with a connection to the animals and nature, gives
the piece a much needed lighter touch.
As the poem winds down, the author spans the poem from the beginning of his days journey to a point where he recalls the lure of air conditioning in contrast to the
seemingly excessive heat of the day. : “The big blue car made me sweat. Wintertime
crawled out of the windows. When I leaned closer I saw the boy & and girl my age, in the
wide back seat smirking..” (MLM, Komunyakaa, “Blackberries” PPG.147-148)
The context in him describing this observation was cynical, in my opinion. Throughout the
poem the author has struck a delicate balance in expanding on moments in his life that
would otherwise be forgettable to anyone else, and discovering the beauty in those very
moments that made the experience worthwhile.
Overall, “Blackberries”, by Yusef Komunyakaa is a short, autobiographical
narrative integral to the authors experience as an impoverished boy. The poem begins as
workman’s like representation of a commodity he seemed to be burdened, yet enamored
by. In detailing hi profound allegorical appreciation for the fruit, he seems challenge to
reconcile his desires with his duty as a laborer and a provider. Though, in recalling his
memories, he writes with such a clarity and strength in his descriptions, that some
unappealing moments, were beautiful in their nobility.