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A Speech by Seamus Heaney, an Irish Poet

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Mrs Collins, Secretary Brady, distinguished members of the village community and guests.1 I would like to thank our honourable head Mrs Collins, my delightful neighbour for allowing me to be a part of this village meeting. I am Seamus Heaney, and I am 10 years old. For those of you who don’t know me, I live in your village right around the next block behind the school. I am a responsible citizen because I do my homework every day so today I would like to express my thoughts regarding the annual Blackberry picking ritual.

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Since all of you are much older than me you must be aware that every year our entire village collectively works to pick up some delicious blackberries before the winters commences. However, as you might have noticed we never receive fresh food or cash crop. Ever wondered why? Well let me make it clear to you, because most of our blackberries are rotten and stale. As much as we want to ignore this topic I would like you to address this matter seriously. I want this year’s crop to be different; I want fresh berries and not just some handful of them I want all our vessels to be filled with gleaming purple berries. But it will not be possible without your cooperation and support.

The annual blackberry picking ritual has always been one of my favourite activities of the year. Everyone enjoys this activity from little kids to elderly people; it is fun and is definitely beneficial. I really appreciate the entire village going on a search for berries each year. Infact, late August is my favourite time of the year simply because of blackberry picking day. After heavy rain we all march together in harmony, crossing various farms, rivers and wet grass. We take a rough path only to reach to a beautiful field of bushes where we always pounce at the first sight of berries. It’s a fun time.

What I fail to understand is, why do we not have patience while doing this? I understand the walk to the bushes is long but if we could only wait a few more days we would be welcomed by a field filled with shiny purple blobs of berries instead of being greeted by judgemental and gross berries. No one looting us; we have all the berries to ourselves. Instead we choose to violate the norms of nature and arrive early to the field for collecting the berries and then act surprised when things do not work out our way. After tasting that one particular fully mature berry we can’t control our greediness at all that we start plucking all the berries. Last year, we all harvested blackberry ripen or otherwise and then we bore the consequences, only a handful of berries lived. We did not leave a single berry on the bush. I understand that sometimes we all make wrong choices but I am frustrated because this happens every single time.

My mother says that humans are funny creatures, they do not learn from their mistakes. They tend to talk high about mistakes, how one must not repeat the same mistakes, blah blah blah. However, when it’s upon implying that philosophy they turn their backs on it and pretend it never happened. What good is the knowledge which cannot be expressed in our day-to-day activities? It’s been my fourth year going for blackberry picking and I do not see any changes in our method. We all repeat our mistakes which leads to blunders, such as lesser berries, rotten berries, no cash crop etc. Under the influence of human greed we lose not only money but also our time and effort along with our food.

Most of us are farmers here and it is slightly embarrassing when our crops turn out stale and unhealthy. Even though we don’t grow it, but we know all about it. It isn’t the nature’s mistake; it is a human error. Not the first error but repetitive errors simply because we are not patient.

Following the natural law is a piece of cake we literary have all the instructions we would ever need, still we do not take any precautions. We would have had plenty to eat and surplus to sell and raise our economy, but no. I was taught in school that ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ and ‘haste makes waste’, these two proverbs made no sense to me then however now you are teaching me the real meaning. We should let the berries ripe before plucking them, give them time to process only then will the sweetness and freshness great us.

The fault is not just us violating the nature’s laws but also how we treat our berries. After we come back from our raid, we store our berries in horse trough. The thought of it makes me want to puke rivers. If we want to consume the berries it must be stored in safer surroundings. By storing the berries in a trough we are disrespecting the privilege of berries that we get.

I remember how last year, not long after we stored our berries we were greeted by some white substance. It was slowly spreading on to all the other berries. No berry survived. It was all for nothing. All the excitement and craze was for nothing.

For our betterment, we need to learn to follow the natural laws. We should also change our storing vessels into something more sanitary. I will need you all to spread some awareness, tell you neighbour, your dog, anyone you find just spread the word. I hope you all understand my points and try your best to avoid the wrong decisions this year. Thank you so much for your time and cookies.

Rationale:

I have chosen to write a speech from the point of view of Seamus Heaney pleading to the village community to improve on their reoccurring mistakes during the annual blackberry picking. It is based on my part 4 of the IB literature and language course, it’s based on one of our poems by Seamus Heaney “Blackberry Picking”. In this writing I am the young poet fed up with the repetitive careless mistakes of the village community.

Seamus Heaney, as a young child was clearly upset due to the greedy and foolish village community who did not respect the gifts of the nature. He recollected his memory in his poem “BlackBerry Picking”. So by this task I try to express similar feelings that Heaney would have felt during his time in the village. I used the same setting in this task, pointing out most of the flaws that Heaney mentioned in his poem. I also tried to further elaborate the story by adding some minute fiction details that weren’t mentioned in the poem.

The target audience is his village community which explains my usage of informal and formal language. I added humour to diminish the effect of formal language and to maintain the child-like behaviour and act in his speech. I choose speech as a text type because someone had to educate the villagers regarding their mistakes.

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