Mushroom magic

Parasols

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.

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