poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘berries

red, red, red

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Autumn, no doubt about it. When I go outside, I see red everywhere. The red of the leaves of red maple, many already on the ground. The red of the lily-of-the-valley berries. The red of the crab apples on our little tree at the end of the walkway. The red hips on the rose bush beside the driveway. Red, red, red.

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red, red, red


each rose hip edge

an ellipse to complete

the curve of rambling canes

berries red, mellow to orange

the white shine, highlight, tipped

with the black remains of blossom,

once pink, now vermillion of vermis,

cinnabar, poisonous, mercuric, toxic

lily-of-the-valley, raceme of berries

dangle, vivid crimson blush, bright

spot on fevered cheeks, the child

thought the berries good to eat

scarlet sigillatus, decorated

small images, pixilations

of woman with camera

limps to reach third

red, ruby, purple

red crabapples

in bunches


in rain



Copyright Jane Tims 2019

All my best,


Written by jane tims

October 9, 2019 at 7:00 am


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square body

four hundred kilos

cow lifts her head, angular

stares at the car


long ears maneuvre

in all directions

no challenge

dewlap swings


cow returns to her business

prehensile lips

pulling leaves

and chokecherries



We saw this moose on the way to our cabin, about a kilometre along the road. She stared at us for a while, eyes and ears curious, but eventually she returned to her feeding.


All the berries are coming into ripe: chokecherries, blueberries and blackberries. At the cabin the blueberries are the largest and sweetest I have ever seen. Everywhere I picked showed evidence of an animal there before me. Not a moose. Perhaps a bear, not caring where he sat as long as he could scoop up those berries.


All my best, Jane 

Copyright August 2019

Written by jane tims

August 23, 2019 at 7:00 am

Posted in wild life

Tagged with , , , , ,

growing and gathering – value

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These days I am working to complete my manuscript of poems on the subject of ‘growing and gathering’ local foods.

As I sort my poems, I find several are about the ‘value’ of wild plants as food.

Sometimes this value is simple value for money.  Every cup of blueberries I pick is one I don’t have to buy.  When I pick enough berries to freeze, I can have blueberries or blackberries when they cost a fortune to buy fresh at the store.  I am also bringing the warm summer and its memories forward into the chill of winter.

A few of my poems focus on the value of substitution.  For example, I will never run out of tea leaves for my daily tea break.  I have Pineapple Weed, Sorrel and Sweet-fern teas to make.  Thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, and my own little herb garden, I have a rack of fresh herbs drying, including Camomile and several varieties of Mint.  If I run out of salad ingredients, I have a stash of salad greens just outside my door.

Storage is the subject matter of a few of my poems.  When I was young, my Mom showed us how to collect Spruce Gum from the trees for a sticky but tasty chew.  During my project, I learned that some woodsmen make little wooden boxes for the gum, to keep it for later use.  I also have a few poems about making jelly and jam.

Thinking about the value of food, I can’t forget the people for whom growing and gathering local foods is an occupation, not just a ‘hobby’.  I have written poems about the people who sell shad and fiddleheads and lobster from their roadside trucks, about children who earn their summer money by picking and selling berries, and, of course, about the farmer.

Last but not least, there is just the joy of finding or producing and eating your own food.  I always say, the best part of a home garden is the taste of the first carrot or the snap of the first wax bean!

What do you think is the greatest value associated with growing and gathering local foods?

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

©  Jane Tims  2012

accents in red

with 15 comments

We are still in the greys and browns of spring.

There are a few wildflowers blooming. The Coltsfoot is spreading carpets of yellow along the roadside.  And flowers in the deep hardwoods have begun to display their delicate beauty.  But most places are drab and colorless.

I watch for red this time of year.  There are a few red berries, still clinging to their branches after winter.

And the stems of Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera Michx.) are brilliant in the fields and ditches.

My favorite ‘red’ of spring is the muted red of the blueberry fields.





the blueberry barren

is faded scarlet

red osier in ditches

rosebush and hawthorn

a single berry, a single haw

Earth in brown

toenails red


©  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

April 16, 2012 at 6:43 am

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