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Mushrooms and Poems

I don’t know if it was because the season had been unusually wet, or if it was just the time for them to be born. All I know is they weren’t there yesterday and today the path is full of the most incredible variety of tiny little umbrellas. They look like they have been painted and set out in the sun to dry. Mushrooms may be the source of every fairy tale ever told. The woods are full of whispering, giggles, the tiny rustling of unseen wings. The back of my neck feels the touch of watching eyes. Change in the woods comes with earthquake suddenness. More sensitive ears than mine would have heard great explosions as the mushrooms popped out of the Earth.

Something like the way a poem is born. They explode out of my mind with great force. One minute they are a tease; the next my fingers can’t fly fast enough. Like mushrooms their appearance is sudden as they reach for the light. Poetry happens in the same kind of silence to the rustle of unseen wings. And poetry provides incredible variety. Each poem has its own form already conceived in the dark. I have no control over the timing. When they are ready, then, only then, do they push upward and unfold into the day. I am always caught by surprise. When the poem is complete, it has its own shape and color and it would take a fairy tale to explain how it came to be.

On this morning’s mushroom walk, the Earth is hushed and warm. As if the wood is resting in between miracles. So much happens under our feet, unseen until thrust upward toward the light.

I sit at my typewriter and wait.

Lynn Martin is a member of Putney (Vt.) Meeting.

Posted in: Features

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