Mushroom magic


They stop us short
Like pennies on the pavement,
Unlooked-for, standing silent
Like the monstrous monuments
Of some strange, forgotten race.
Fleshy, flaking,
Still sparkling with this morning’s mist,
Big as plates
Balanced like circus tricks on slim stems
Each ringed with the ragged ruff
Of an Elizabethan rogue.
Fairy castles, flying saucers –
So alien, yet so at home
Here on Ashdown’s sheep-short turf.
More wait –
White, tight as golf-balls –
To swell and stretch in wild extravagance
While here and there
A tiny Ozymandias
Wind-tilted, toppled by a careless boot
(Or speeding whippet)
Crumples in its slow collapse
Into food for its own kind.


8 thoughts on “Mushroom magic

  1. Hi Nick,

    I like this Autumn poem very much, because I have been wanting to do a poem about them tool. I couldn’t have done it as well.

    They start as a sort of fallus, then pop! One day it is this umbrella!
    On my daily climb upon the dune, where the path splits up, there is one of these giants too 🙂 And in spite of dogs running all over the place, it survives somehow. But only one! No idea why.

    Hugs from the mist 🙂

    • Thank you, Ina: I’d love to read a poem from you about these amazing – well, organisms, I suppose we should call them, being neither plants not animals, but a whole kingdom to themselves. I guess that’s why we find them so fascinating and other-worldly. I don;t know how much longer they’ll be here, but they’re fun while they last!

  2. You take me back Nick to early morning days with my father collecting mushrooms for the pot later on the same day.

    I have not been mushrooming since. nor am I likely to I suppose particularly as, unlike my father, I do not know the difference between the edible ones and the poisonous ones 🙂


    • It’s like a remake of The Day Of The Triffids up on the Forest at the moment; there’s an absolutel bonanza of fungi of all descriptions. I’m told these parasols are edible, not that I have any intention of verifying this information one way or the other: they look lethal to me. Just their sheer size is intimidating enough: the biggest I found yesterday was 9″ (22cm) across, and tall enough to be swaying slightly in the breeze.

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