TCS: Here, There Are Blueberries

. . .Good Morning!

. . Today is National Blueberry Day

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings.
This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning
a hole in your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

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Some eyes threaten like a loaded and levelled pistol,
and others are as insulting as hissing or kicking;
some have no more expression than blueberries,
while others are as deep as a well which you can fall into.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Blueberries

by James Lasdun

I’m talking to you old man.
Listen to me as you step inside this garden
to fill a breakfast bowl with blueberries
ripened on the bushes I’m planting now,
twenty years back from where you’re standing.
It’s strictly a long-term project—first year
pull off the blossoms before they open,
second year let them flower, watch the bees
bobbing in every bonnet,
but don’t touch the fruit till year three,
and then only sample a handful or two . . .
Old man I’m doing this for you!
You know what they say about blueberries:
blood-cleansing, mood-lifting memory-boosters;
every bush a little fountain of youth
sparkling with flavonoids, anthocyanin . . .
I’ve spent all summer clearing brush
sawing locust poles for the frames,
digging in mounds of pine needles, bales of peat moss—
I thought I’d do it while I still could.
You can do something for me in turn:
think about the things an old man should;
things I’ve shied away from, last things.
Care about them only don’t care too
(you’ll know better than I do what I mean
or what I couldn’t say, but meant).
Reconcile, forgive, repent,
but don’t go soft on me; keep the faith,
our infidels’ implicit vow:
“not the hereafter but the here and now  . . . ”
Weigh your heart against the feather of truth
as the Egyptians did, and purge its sin,
but for your own sake, not your soul’s.
And since the only certain
eternity’s the one that stretches backward,
look for it here inside this garden:
Blueray, Bluecrop, Bluetta, Hardy Blue;
little fat droplets of transubstantiate sky,
each in its yeast-misted wineskin, chilled in dew.
This was your labor, these are the fruits thereof.
Fill up your bowl old man and bring them in.


“Blueberries” from Bluestone, © 2015 by James Lasdun – Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Here, There Are Blueberries 

by Mary Szybist

When I see the bright clouds, a sky empty of moon and stars,
I wonder what I am, that anyone should note me.

Here there are blueberries, what should I fear?
Here there is bread in thick slices, of whom should I be afraid?

Under the swelling clouds, we spread our blankets.
Here in this meadow, we open our baskets

to unpack blueberries, whole bowls of them,
berries not by the work of our hands, berries not by the work of our fingers.

what taste the bright world has, whole fields
without wires, the blackened moss, the clouds

swelling at the edges of the meadow. And for this,
I did nothing, not even wonder.

You must live for something, they say.
People don’t live just to keep on living.

But here is the quince tree, a sky bright and empty.
Here there are blueberries, there is no need to note me.


“Here, There Are Blueberries” from Incarnadine © 2013 by Mary Szybist –
Graywolf Press

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Blueberries After Dark

by W.S. Merwin

So this is the way the night tastes
one at a time
not early or late

my mother told me
that I was not afraid of the dark
and when I looked it was true

how did she know
so long ago

with her father dead
almost before she could remember
and her mother following him
not long after
and then her grandmother
who had brought her up
and a little later
her only brother
and then her firstborn
gone as soon
as he was born
she knew


“Blueberries After Dark” from The Shadow of Sirius © 2008 by W.S. Merwin –
Copper Canyon Press

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Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York, 1957

by Mary Oliver

Once, in summer
in the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
when a deer stumbled against me.

I guess
she was so busy with her own happiness
she had grown careless
and was just wandering along

listening
to the wind as she leaned down
to lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were

with nothing between us
but a few leaves, and wind’s
glossy voice
shouting instructions.

The deer
backed away finally
and flung up her white tail
and went floating off toward the trees –

but the moment she did that
was so wide and so deep
it has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her –

the flower of her amazement
and the stalled breath of her curiosity,
and even the damp touch of her solicitude
before she took flight –

to be absent again from this world
and alive, again, in another
for thirty years
sleepy and amazed,

rising out of the rough weeds
listening and looking.
Beautiful girl,
where are you?


“Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York, 1957” from New and Selected Poems, Volume One
© 2004 by Mary Oliver – Beacon Press

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband and a bewildered Border Collie.
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