Berries

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Berries
written by Walter de la Mare
Peacock Pie (1913) Link to further information




There was an old woman
Went blackberry picking
Along the hedges
From Weep to Wicking. -
Half a pottle-
No more she had got,
When out steps a Fairy
From her green grot;
And says, 'Well, Jill,
Would 'ee pick ee mo?'
And Jill, she curtseys,
And looks just so.
Be off,' says the Fairy,
'As quick as you can,
Over the meadows
To the little green lane
That dips to the hayfields
Of Farmer Grimes:
I've berried those hedges
A score of times;
Bushel on bushel
I'll promise'ee, Jill,
This side of supper
If'ee pick with a will.'
She glints very bright,
And speaks her fair;
Then lo, and behold!
She had faded in air.

Be sure Old Goodie
She trots betimes
Over the meadows
To Farmer Grimes.
And never was queen
With jewelry rich
As those same hedges
From twig to ditch;
Like Dutchmen's coffers,
Fruit, thorn, and flower -
They shone like William
And Mary's bower.
And be sure Old Goodie
Went back to Weep,
So tired with her basket
She scarce could creep.

When she comes in the dusk
To her cottage door,
There's Towser wagging
As never before,
To see his Missus
So glad to be
Come from her fruit-picking
Back to he.
As soon as next morning
Dawn was grey,
The pot on the hob
Was simmering away;
And all in a stew
And a hugger-mugger
Towser and Jill
A-boiling of sugar,
And the dark clear fruit
That from Faerie came,
For syrup and jelly
And blackberry jam.

Twelve jolly gallipots
Jill put by;
And one little teeny one,
One inch high;
And that she's hidden
A good thumb deep,
Half way over
From Wicking to Weep.

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