Raspberry Variations

rubus strigosus

perennial biennial
woody, hollow, prickly stem
alternating leaflets —
trifolate cordate-ovate, doubly serrate
lateral leaflets are sessile . . . or nearly so

white flowers with yellow stamen May to June
aggregate fruits follow in July
the fleshy drupes are sweet and slightly
tart, they detach cleanly and
are easily plucked when perfectly ripe

adapts well to human disturbance

from a witch’s grimoire: raspberry magic

gender: feminine
planet: Venus
element: water

1. Protect the fruits of your labours, but don’t be too prickly when its time to share.

2. Be patient. Take time to offer your magic to the world.

3. Bathe in an infusion of raspberry to keep love alive.

miskomin+ song

the ground softens
my seed breaks open
thrilling, I shoot higher and higher
stretching straight and sure

my new leaves are greedy for the warmth of the sun
my prickly stems grow so tall they bow down
to kiss the ground
and where they touch,
my daughters are born

I fall in love with the sun
and her love feeds mine
but then she becomes distant

the air cools
and the wind rattles my brittle abandonment

some days she warms
and I reach for her
but then the cold is unrelenting and I sleep

and while I rest
I mourn the loss of my bright love

who cycles again and again

so far above me

. . . . .

and one day her warmth awakens me from earth’s embrace
this time I am
impatient for her love

my stems stretch again
my hungry leaves unfurl
trembling and tingling
now joined by
joyous white blossoms that cry out to
the pollinators
who gladly come and venerate me
over and over again
until I am exhausted and my petals fall to ground
I am left expectant

the sun shines on and on but she seems oblivious
once again my leaves cry out to her for love
but she burns their tips uninterested
my tears are the rain that glistens on my leaves
and still I wait

and then one day she turns her face to me
transformed from lover to midwife
we birth my baby berries together
just a few each day

— two seasons in the growing
now offered freely for the taking

come taste our sharpness
come swallow and carry our seed

+miskomin is the Ojibwe name for raspberry

the gift

The July sun slants from high above
warm and lavish on my back. Cicadas
sing their shimmered summer song.

The unmowed grass behind our
house is lush and tall now
green by ground
and golden near the sun.

I unclip the leash and let
my four-legged daughter
pull free. She bounds
ahead and over

near to where the wild raspberry canes
stand thorny and uncombed along
the edge of the path. She sits

and waits. The berries are so ripe
they drop
into my hand like eager jewels. Some for me and
the rest for Michonne.

She licks them from my palm and
we share their sweet sharpness.

My heart bursts wide open.



Image sources:


  1. Mmmm, such delicious poetry, Diane! I can taste that sharp sweetness of our beautiful raspberry friends. Thanks for sharing, Blessed be, Nancy

    Sent from my iPad


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