Picking Blackberries

My grandfather told me to look
under the leaves as many of them
were hiding like fugitives.

Protected from the spines
wearing a coat or thick pullover,
he’d nonchalantly part the brambles

so that we could enter a channel;
a Yorkshire Moses. Each berry
was placed in a cardboard tray,

nestled together they resembled
miniature black grenades.
Corkscrewing back in time my mind

opens a bottle containing images
of pain and sacrifice. We have
the thorns and the purple venal

blood and now the Bradford sky
is getting dark with thunder clouds
as gradually we make our way home.



John-Christopher Johnson has had poems published in The Journal, Other Poetry, London Grip, Agenda, Interpreter’s House, The Seventh Quarry, The North, Allegro Poetry, Orbis etc. He has attended creative writing groups run by Jan Moran Neil in Beaconsfield and has occasionally read his work at The Poet’s Cafe in Reading.