Overgrowth – A Poem By Carol J Forrester

These are not my grandmother’s mushrooms
their blotched white skins mottled in the grass,
a hand tucked beneath the umbrella meat,
bone handled fish knife soft to the stems.
These are a different kettle of spores altogether,
ruffed collar about a shortened stump
lips pursed on top of each other,
sour sucked expression rolled in on waves.
Extravagant, and no good to anyone
these are the dangerous sort.

This afternoon has been a delight of migraines, so I’m having a quick go at tonight’s poetics prompt and then turning in for the evening. I used to go picking mushrooms with my grandmother quite a bit, but I can’t remember why we stopped… I think they just stopped growing quite as much in the fields around her house.


  1. I love this, Carol! My favourite lines are:
    ‘These are a different kettle of spores altogether’
    ‘lips pursed on top of each other,
    sour sucked expression rolled in on waves.’
    I’d poison myself if I tried to gather mushrooms!


  2. I once met a mushroom “farmer”. He had once been a white collar worker in a high-powered job in the inner city of Chicago. He inherited a bit of land near the Hoosier National Forest where mushrooms grew prolifically. He quit his high-powered job, built a cabin on his land, and now makes a happy living selling mushrooms to the restaurants in the little tourist town nearby! He said it was the best decision he ever made.


  3. WA State and Oregon is mushroom country. People make a living harvesting them from the forests. Your poem made me chuckle. I never picked mushrooms solo; always went with my grandfather, who was an expert.


  4. Wonderful description Carol, and I think I recognize it? I am sharing this interesting fact today: A “Armillaria Ostoyae” mushroom, in the Malheur National Forest, in the Strawberry Mountains of eastern Oregon, was found to be the largest fungal colony in the world, spanning an area of 3.5 square miles (2,200 acres; 9.1 km2).


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