Where Does Culture Bring You?

Tonight is Culture Night here in Ireland and the whole question of what ‘culture’ means to different people/s has been playing on my mind all day.

It probably won’t surprise regular readers of Social Bridge that culture, for me, is at its best when it brings nature and poetry together.

I associate September very much blackberries and going out with our buckets to secret hideaways to pick them. That’s exactly what I did this evening up this old track a few miles from Tramore.

The Blackberry Path
The Blackberry Path

Various poems about blackberries flashed before me, including Seamus Heaney’s Blackberry Picking, Sylvia Plath’s Blackberrying and this beauty from Galway Kinnell:

Blackberry Eating

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, 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.

Galway Kinnell

Blackberries

I realise that cultural preferences vary hugely and are very wide-ranging indeed. Ireland is alive with cultural activities tonight and I even caught the choir of birds at their dress rehearsal as I came home after my poetic blackberry feast.

The Choir
The Choir

I’d love to hear where the concept of  culture brings you? 

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