Scratching Lines

From “Advice to a Poet” by Susan Braley

There’s a mention of “blood” and a whole world comes pouring forth in the wake of “wine”. And the familiar becomes kindred. The old rose is only known by its leaves: rugosa.

It will be familiar:
you’ll know
the rugosa leaves, or
the blood-wine berries.

Beyond the bramble, lick your wounds.
Wait under the cedar sky. Hushed.

What you seek will greet you there:
fugitive, ancient, kindred.

Beyond blood-wine, any elaboration or allusion escapes me. And yet the proximity of “fugitive” to “kindred” reminds me of the novel by Octavia Butler. Which I now must reread for signs of roses or blackberries.

Freedom is a theme that Braley channels through a quotation in the side bar to the announcement of the publication of “Advice to a Poet” She brings to our attention: “A bird is a poem/that talks of the end of cages.” (Patrick Lane, “The Bird,” The Last Water Song)

I have searched the briar patch and found more berries. One brings the offers a berry-word simile; the other invokes wine and blood.

Blackberry Eating by Galway Kinnell

the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.

Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney

You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

Heaney’s poem goes on to reminds us that it is a seasonal joy. Fugitive indeed.

And so for day 2614

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