The illustration by Rose Ellenby (note the skull and crossbones!) and cover art are from a King Penguin, Poisonous Fungi by John Ramsbottom, Penguin, Harmondsworth 1945.

And another fungi poem…

This is an excerpt from  Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath, first collected in The Colossus and Other Poems, William Heinemann, London, 1960.

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on

Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving…


I thought I’d better write a fungi poem of my own…


In this dry season

They still come.

Entombed warriors, they wait, massed, in readiness.

It’s their mission –

Rain or no rain,

when the days shorten,

they will rise.

Through ground hard as iron, stony, cracked, compacted

They heave up, giving birth  to themselves,


We see a shoulder, an elbow

Or a round white scalp.


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