Blackberries, Pain, and Greed

On either side of the paved path
Stand two wire fences.
One with small openings and tall.
The other short with large openings
and a barbed-wire edge.

Poking through
and hiding behind both
are the Blackberries.
Ready to be taken
but ready in turn to dole out
and incite

Oh you could glean the outermost
relatively unscathed,
but the biggest, darkest,
the most alluring gems
lie happily flanked by
needle-sharp guards.
These berries consort with a Siren
to lure me, hypnotize me.

I must have them.
I will have them.
And pain is just a faint, unimportant half-thought.

* * *

Through the small openings on one side,
I slip in two fingers to
gently pull the berries loose.
Then I lose control and not-so-gently
pull more than I can hold.

I can't jump high with
grace and safety to grab the higher ones,
but I try anyway.

* * *

On the other side, I can
stick my hand deep through the fence or
gingerly over the barbs,
hunting, hunting.

Deep into the berries' lair,
unheedful of the guards,
I grab one, then two,
then three, then four;
then drop one, maybe two.

* * *

Next winter,
I will eat my jam and
the Pain and the Greed.

I will promise myself that,
next summer,
I will be a better berry hunter.

I will be more graceful, more careful
less greedy, less impetuous.

But I know I will probably fail again.

Harry W. Yeatts Jr.