Posts Tagged ‘mushroom’

One Foray

orienting my day
by this constellation of morels
I find myself five years ago

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Add this to my list of small ecstasies.
            —James Crews
It’s a small ecstasy when,
strolling through the field,
I see the mottled tip
of the blonde morel
pushing up through bent grass.
And another. And another.
They were not here yesterday,
but now I kneel on the earth
with my blade sharp and true
and slice through the strange
and rubbery stems
and hold the handful of treasure
to my nose and breathe in
the earthy, woodsy scent.
So curious to think how they go
from not being here to being here.
Like when I realize I love someone,
but can’t say precisely when love began.
A life is made of such moments—
this wonder that rises
at the miracle of becoming,
this sweet gift of passing through.

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Part of me thrills to walk in the woods
and find dozens of old king boletes,
their cinnamon caps stretched and blotched,
the yellow sponge of their underbellies
bloated with rain and dappled with dross,
their stems turned to lace by maggots.
There was a time I felt responsible
for gathering them all to eat them, to dry them,
to share them, lest they go to waste.
As if I could ever gather them all.
As if to bloom and thrive
and return to the earth is a waste.
The mushrooms teach me something
of what it is to show up, to give it all
for the sake of giving it all.
I feel so lucky now to find their dark puddles
as they deliquesce.
Soon, there will be no evidence
they were here at all. I leave the woods
no less broken, more whole.

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Now I understand how grief
is like a mushroom—
how it thrives in dark conditions.
How it springs directly
from what is dead.
Such a curious blossoming thing,
how it rises and unfurls
in spontaneous bourgeoning,
a kingdom all its own.

Like a mushroom,
most of grief is never seen.
It grows and expands beneath everything.
Sometimes it stays dormant for years.

Grief, like a mushroom,
can be almost unbearably beautiful,
even exotic, delicate, veiled,
can arrive in any shape and hue.
It pulls me closer in.

Like a mushroom, grief
asks me to travel to regions
of shadow and dim.
I’m astonished by what I find—
mystery, abundance, insight.
Like a mushroom, grief
can be wildly generative.
Not all growth takes place
in the light.

This poem was published in ONE ART: A Journal of Poetry on 9/11/22

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One Running Path




in unfamiliar woods

finding chanterelles and puffballs—

old friends

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Just because the moss is exactly
the right color green and the spruce
are spaced just widely enough to let

the sunshine in, just because
the red strawberry leaves and purple
gentian are growing nearby, just because

it rained last night and just because you
have found them here before is no
guarantee that the mushrooms you want

to find are here this time. And they aren’t.
A voice rises in you, “But they should be here,”
and you find yourself arguing with the world.

Disappointment, I suppose, is the mother
of indignation. You could already taste them,
sautéed in butter, hearty and nutty and rich.

The absence feels unfair. You look again,
this time in the field. You look again at the edge
of the woods. You look again in the low grass

on the ridge. And find nothing except
your longing to find something that is not here.
You are still holding the basket, empty

except for two small brown bolete buttons—
they are the perfect size for eating,
only hardly enough to bother with.

Expectation has a bitter taste, one that seems
to only enhance a hunger. There’s a beauty
in noticing this—not that it makes the longing

go away, but somehow you see that this is just
another invitation to want exactly
what is happening—

the empty basket, the growing hunger,
the ground so wet, so full
of potential right beneath your feet.

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It’s Laughable

So easy sometimes
to forget how to be alive,
and then, walking the edges
of the spruce forest,
we come across in the duff
not just the brown cap
of boletus edulis but
that whatever it is
that we have forgotten,
simple and humble and miraculous,
it was there all along,
not really hiding,
just waiting for us
to find it.

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