Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes
Ebon in the hedges, fat
With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.
I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.
They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides.

Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks —
Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.
Theirs is the only voice, protesting, protesting.
I do not think the sea will appear at all.
The high, green meadows are glowing, as if lit from within.
I come to one bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies,
Hanging their bluegreen bellies and their wing panes in a Chinese screen.
The honey-feast of the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven.
One more hook, and the berries and bushes end.

The only thing to come now is the sea.
From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me,
Slapping its phantom laundry in my face.
These hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt.
I follow the sheep path between them. A last hook brings me
To the hills’ northern face, and the face is orange rock
That looks out on nothing, nothing but a great space
Of white and pewter lights, and a din like silversmiths
Beating and beating at an intractable metal.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Blackberrying


  1. aa says:

    hi! pretty epic seeing the comments from 2006. im currently studying poetry in my english class. after analyzing, and researching her and the poem itself, ive found out this poem has so many hidden meanings. the depression and guilt around it really spoke to me. cant wait to read more of her work.

  2. becki a says:

    wag1? ye man.. i did dis poem in class 2day n 4 sum reason i actually liked it. sylvia (i fink das her name lol) was actually sufferin from depression and dis shows in some area of the poem. It iz quite sad (feeling way) and it makes da reader fink alot. Just fort id say dat lol byeee xxx

  3. Becci says:

    Ah, so six years after I did it, they’re still making you compare Plath with Heaney…good job this is a fantastic poem. Just a thought which got me a lot of marks: the blood sisterhood bit is probably about menstruating. She might have been having her period at the same time as she was picking the blackberries. Hope that helps!

  4. Camaraderie says:

    I’ve been analysising this poem as part of my english coursework and comparing it to Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney. I have found that both poems use this strange theme of picking blackberries as metaphors of hope, loss and disapointment. Also both poems refer to a journey of life, starting good (as a child – with refrences to chilhood and innocence) then getting progressively worse and worse, as the bitterness and mistrust stand out more. This theme of journeys in this poem is show in the way the setting changes in eachh stanza. I think this poem is very deep and does need to be analysed just as deeply to understand it fully. If anyone does need futher help into understanding this poem then please contact me, I am very busy with studies but I will do my best to help you in any way I can.
    Cammie x

  5. Pete says:

    I think this poem is a bit shoddy, i think sylvia decided she wanted to mak a bit of cash but i can’t see who would buy this junk….

  6. mischke says:

    i believe this poem about her love for women, its the ways she described the juices and squandering. i cant explain it, but i if you read it carefully. I think you can pick up on the idea. its a beautiful piece.

  7. I love poems says:

    This poem is a very intriguing read. I’ve been working on the homeworks from English 12 AP for the last 3 hours and i’m finally here – halfway. I got sick of analyzing asinine poems and thought would cheat by finding the analysis on the poem already done by less fortunate people. Here I am, at this site, with nothing but comments and I feel like ranting so here I am.

    At this very moment in time, if I had a single grant, I would wish for a time machine so I can travel back into time and prevent the birth of Silvia PLath.

    Thank you for reading and have a great day.

  8. I. S says:

    some lovely onamatopiea and methapors. This poem reallly praises nature, making everything sound so beautiful. Much alliteration on b, very beautiful.

  9. peter says:


  10. Rebecca says:

    After reading this poem i really saw the mind of Sylvia Plath. A very intriguing poem that does reflect her life in some way, different words have different means, and she fully distinks what she finds a liking to and a disliking to. Good read but you have to re-read a lot of it to find what different words mean!!!

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