‘Strawberry Picking’ revisited for Earthweal: #poetry

One day
after many a heartache
we will simply walk
into the wooded confines of the gorge
searching for strawberries
gems of sweet delight
hidden amongst the swaying grass and leaves

lit by sunshine which falls after
the early summer rain
has washed the grass, the leaves,
the hillsides green
and cleanses us
absolves us as
we pause to taste a momentary joy:

Sweet welcome,
sugaring the pill of lifelong pain
the hedgerow-hidden wildfruit
washed with rain
soothes secretly
our hidden cares;
returns us to our once-lost selves again.

We walk on
through the gap between the rocks,
the sacred cave
revered for centuries
by pilgrims, pagan
Christian and atheist alike
who pause here,
to reflect, and say prayer:

You brought us
here, to this resplendent place, this
masterpiece of nature
which asks nothing
of its visitors
but rather gives replenishment to us,
restorative.

I thank you:
Gratitude is all in all
I feel; grateful
to hidden powers and
explosions which combined
to thrust out rock and cosmic dust
and form the beauty of the world divine.

ยฉ Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

About this poem

This poem was published by Spillwords in July of last year, but when I read Brendan’s essay for this week’s Earthweal challenge, I thought it would be a nice fit, so I’ve reworked it and republished here. For the challenge, Brendan asks us to write about gifts, using the example of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and The Teaching of Plants (Milkweed Editions, 2015). He quotes her description of finding wild strawberries as a child:

I was raised by strawberries, fields of them. Not to exclude the maples, hemlocks, white pines, goldenrod, asters, violets and mosses of upstate New York, but it was the wild strawberries beneath the dewy leaves on an almost-summer morning, who gave me my sense of the world, my place in it.

I too was delighted to find the gift of wild strawberries when out walking at Pokljuลกka Soteska in Northern Slovenia. Sometimes I also think of poems like gifts which are given to me, whole and more-or-less perfectly formed. This particular poem was not of that kind; I had to work at it and I’m still not sure it’s exactly right, but I do think it fits in with the themes of the challenge which is why I’m sharing it with Earthweal.

29 thoughts on “‘Strawberry Picking’ revisited for Earthweal: #poetry

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  1. Ahh.. strawberry fields forever… fruits of the gods, .. and there you have the universe in a blade grass…
    “Sean Rowe โ€“ The Lonely Maze Lyrics ”

    Oh Iโ€™ll never get to the star
    But Iโ€™ve seen the universe in a blade of grass
    Oh Iโ€™ve built my questions a raft
    And I send them floating there on a lake of glass
    Though this weight is like a stone
    It is hard to drop the things Iโ€™ve come to know

    Oh my mind is lost to the ground
    Like the crickets are lost against the highway sound
    Oh Iโ€™ve been a thief with my voice
    While all the leaves just sing the truth out loud
    Take this mask, burn my page
    And I will leave my wallet in that lonely maze

      1. I found Sean Rowe’s music in 2012, with this song, and I’m a keen follower of his poetic lyrics.. and here his words seemed to suit your glorious poem ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜˜

  2. Oh it is a PERFECT fit, and SO wonderful and affirming to read. Sigh. I needed this poem this morning! No matter what, I hold that vision of walking out into spring and looking for strawberries.

  3. Nothing renders me more capable of receiving the beauty of the world like grief — the tender welcome of a found strawberry can break my heart in that other way with simple joy. Love the rendering here, Jack Gilbert said grief makes the heart apparent as these tiny wonders fill it full. Thanks for sharing it at earthweal. – Brendan

  4. Stellar work, Ingrid. There are so many layers to this poem.
    Your poem and photo also reminded me of the Strawberry Festival in Texas, where my niece lives. Sweet, both the festival and my niece. ๐Ÿ“

  5. As a child I enjoyed picking wild strawberries and blueberries in Shenandoah National Park. There’s something delightful about finding a treat high up on the side of a mountain in a place as beautiful as heaven on earth! Your lovely poem brought back memories, Ingrid! <3

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