In the poem "Blackberry-Picking" by Seamus Heaney, the author uses powerful metaphors, strong diction, descriptive imagery, and an organized form to compare picking blackberries to holding on to your childhood.
Metaphors are the strongest tool the author uses to convey his deeper understanding of the experience of picking blackberries. The blackberries in themselves are a metaphor for childhood. The ripened berries suggest a new life, a child. The author speaks of flesh and blood to call to mind the child's mortality. Hoarding the berries mirrors trying to hold on to childhood.
The fungus growing on the berries implies that old age, or maybe even death, is near. These metaphors convey the double meaning of the poem. Diction and imagery play an important role in this poem. "At first" (3) and the ripening berries introduce the beginning of childhood. "We hoarded the fresh berries... " (17) and the cans, tins, and pots imply a desire to hold on to this precious period in life.
The author uses "sour" (21) and "rot" (23) to describe the berries at the end of their season, but these words also show that childhood is drifting away. "Glutting on our cache" (19) means that fungus has consumed the berries, and this shows that childhood has vanished. Diction and imagery help to support the poet's theme of wanting to hold on to childhood. The poem's form emphasizes this theme. The first stanza speaks of the beginning of blackberry season and picking blackberries; this suggests childhood and adolescence. The second stanza has a morbid tone because it speaks of the rotting berries; this suggests old age and death.
The form helps to support the dual meaning of the poem. Metaphors, diction, imagery, and form help to convey the author's two meanings of this poem. They show that blackberries are closely related to childhood because neither can last forever.