Sunday 28 December 2014

Mushrooms Take Two...

OK people, today there are two posts –you’ve got a poem and a review! But they are linked, honestly. For some reason I woke up thinking of today’s short story, Slaves to the Mushroom, (see previous post) and the final sentence which kept niggling away in my brain, even though I didn’t like the story. The last words are: “Behind them in the sheds, thousands of tiny white nodules no bigger than a pin’s head starring the black compost were beginning to swell.”  And I suddenly realised what it was that this reminded me of – Sylvia Plath’s Mushrooms, which a friend recommended I should read, just a few weeks ago.

Sylvia Plath.
I love the way Plath writes about mushrooms pushing their way through the soil, but the poem is s kind of metaphor, about oppressed people rising up, in a quiet way, not through revolution or war, but simply because they are there, surviving and multiplying.
I’m not sure the poem really does help me appreciate MacKay’s tale, but it did make me look at it in a slightly different light. Anyway, here is the poem, and you can listen to Harriet Walters reading it if you follow this link to the British Library site

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

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