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.
Finding the right kind is the real challenge… your description of those ugly mushrooms is so much to the point… to find the really good ones is the real challenge… but when you do … wow
It’s been years since I’ve had fresh picked mushrooms. There is certainly a skill in being able to forage for yourself.
I feel this is as much about your grandmother (and the person she is not) as it is about mushrooms. Lovely grounding detail.
Thank you Sarah.
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!
I would most likely do the same. Best to pick to purchasing mushrooms from the supermarket.
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.
Sounds like he found his little bit of paradise.
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.
I don’t think I’d ever trust my own foraging skills. At best I’d end up with a dodgy tummy, at worst the end of of a cautionary tale.
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).
Wow, that’s one very big fungus.
‘Umbrella meat’ – that’s fantastic! I hope the migraine eases up, it certainly hasn’t affected your poetic sensibilities!
The migraine eased off by morning thankfully.
A wealth of beautifully crafted imagery, like “umbrella meat”! So enjoyed this.
Oh I love how unique this is 💛
You’re welcome 🙂