Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Mushrooms

CHAMPIGNONS INNOCENTES

By Bill Cavanaugh, Becketwood Member

The woods are full of them—dark
spores sucking the damp bark,
yeasty molds breathing the gas of decay;
all yearnings for the taste of ruin
all poisons dreamt of by the will to power,
lurk in the gills of life gone sour.
And yet how innocent the food-rich glade!
how safe a reef or shoal its masquerade
of healthy rot. Delicious colonies
of morel hide beneath a phosphorescent
lantern’s leer (fueled by wood too wet to burn),
or bathe within a shower of pale green fern.
Who’ll run the risk of all the smuts and rust
to find magpies disguised, for no protective reason
in motley of hyena hide,
puff balls clowning underfoot, or, in their season
shaggy philiota leaning—parasols in a sudden gust
of spring—or the dew-caught cups of milky parchment?
We savor this dear mildew and its yeast;
tasty fungi tempts us to the feast
of delicious lips and tongues that cling
to the fallen punk, of Jew’s Ear blushing
at the hollow conch of elm; we must love
the yellow chanterelle, the blue clavaria and white
and all the reddened keys to dark delight.

WITNESSES

By Carol Masters, Becketwood Member

today a wind begins
the sky shifts
west to east
sunlight lies flat

bulldozed along the snow
until late when it leaps
like goldfish in the thaw

a pair of Jehovah’s
no One less knock
bandbox fresh they’ve come
to inspect my soul but
I’m not in the habit

of a prayer plump and solid
as mushrooms appear suddenly
in a wet year pregnant and blushing
tan as though we were all
some racial mix taut and sweet
as mushrooms and they tell

me I will die as though I didn’t
know but should I be saved
I’d be One of the Only
144 thousand so I laugh

sing with the neighborhood
dogs, bark back syncopated
praise, throaty round sounds,
edges bitten off like ice
shaken from a stem

Leave a Comment

  • Jude Wing October 18, 2016, 9:53 pm

    Carol, what a moving poem. Is it published? You are amazing. Jude

    Reply
    • Carol Masters October 18, 2016, 10:03 pm

      thanks, Jude — way earlier version was published in Sing Heavenly Muse!

      Reply
  • David Liddle October 19, 2016, 1:51 am

    Now I love mushrooms even more! Thank you, Bill and Carol.

    Reply
  • lysine.umiacs.umd.edu November 14, 2016, 12:18 am

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    with afterward you can write iif not it is difficult to write.

    Reply