|[Nov. 23rd, 2008|10:00 pm]
Hours before the thin moon rises, a few dewdrops form and catch the light spilled from windows or porch lights, setting the grass with small jewels. This damp suggests the possibility of rain in a day or two. Maybe it will come and maybe it won't. Predictions are always chancy in November. Orion is predictable, though. He'll be up there most of the night, making his way across the sky. Now that it's cold, I have to wear a coat if I want to see him. He might be hidden among clouds soon, so I'll probably spend some time watching him tonight. I find myself amazed that the year is so far gone. One more month of autumn, and then the nights will begin to shorten again, and winter's gray days will lengthen. I don't expect that they'll seem very long, though. It's getting to be that time.
by Seamus Heaney
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
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
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.