Poetry Friday: The Fabulous Fungi of August

You may or may not have noticed but I took a break from posting to Poetry Friday last month. We moved in June, were settling in during July, and I started writing on Medium in August. I needed some change and I got it.

But one of the most fantastic things I did in August was to learn about fungi. Being an environmental educator, I know a lot about certain species or biomes. But, I never knew a lot about mushrooms until this month! We found almost twenty different varieties on our two-acre wooded parcel on the edge of a lake in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

I thought I was in heaven. I love to learn new things and set about learning how to name all the different varieties of fungi we found, as well as identify their distinguishing features and edibility. Books were borrowed from the library and dusted off my reference bookshelf at home.

To fully round out my experience, I thought I’d try to write some poems to go with the fungi I found. This is something I would encourage my students to do if I had a group of writers or was still holding the after-school garden club. I hope you enjoy the whimsy and excitement I found foraging this month!

What Am I?
 
Deep Orange
Lots of curves
No stem

Firm to the touch
Growing 
Out of the ground

An earthy smell
Emanating from you
Or is it the soil 

From where you 
Came?
Quickly arising

In a spot that 
Held nothing there
Yesterday

What Am I?

I am a Lobster Mushroom.
Will you eat me or 
let me be? 

© Draft, Carol Labuzzetta, 2022
Lobster Mushroom © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022
Bear’s Head Tooth Fungi. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022
Bear’s Head Tooth

Looking up from the ground,
There you were.
White spikes on a
Brown log


In the forest
Where I now live
But you’ve been here
Before

I just missed you
Because I never looked
Never walked through
The leaves

Covering the ground
Dodging the twigs
Jumping over stumps
Poking the puffballs

Once I looked up,
You were there,
Now you are forever fixed
In my mind

And my belly! 

© Draft, Carol Labuzzetta, 2022

These are some of the mushroom varieties we found on our property in Northern Wisconsin during August! I’m still learning the identities of some! And the only one I was willing to eat was the Bear’s Head Tooth fungi. We knew that was edible from our reading and research. One should never eat a wild mushroom unless 100% sure of what type it is. There are many look-alikes that make it chancy to eat any mushroom unless you’ve learned a lot about what they are. Some can make you sick or even cause death. All photos © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022.

MUSHROOMS

A rainy August 
Fills the forest
With treats for the poorest
And us acting as cataloguists

All colors and sizes
Pop up from the earth
A truly spontaneous birth
Giving us daily surprises

Bear’s Head was yummy
It’s the only one I tried
In butter with garlic, we fried
Then ate, somewhat gummy.

Some have gills
Others grow pores
You pick yours
Mine are over the hills

What fun was had
As we foraged in the forest
The birds sang and chorused
Our finds made us glad 

© Draft Carol Labuzzetta, 2022


Today is Poetry Friday.  Our host this week is Linda at Teacher Dance. Please visit her website for more great poetry and links to other participants. Thanks for hosting Linda! 



















16 thoughts

  1. Oh, Carol, amazing fungi is right! I love that you’ve ventured into this knowledge & found so many around your new home. I can read your excitement about each. We had a cabin in the Rockies a long while ago & loved finding the fungi there, too. Maybe a book is in the future? Thanks for sharing so much. I love that “Bear’s Head Tooth” – Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Linda! Thanks again for hosting! I have been very excited about all these fungi finds! I’m so glad that came through in the post! I would love, love, love to work on some kind of book about fungi! The next book project I do, I plan to definitely incorporate some of my photography! Thanks for reading and for the comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What amazing photos and poem to go with. I’d be a little nervous to eat anything not vetted by my local grocery store. But, if you know what you’re doing I’ll bet you get a fantastic feast. Enjoy your new digs!

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    1. Hi Linda! Thanks for your comments! I have never eaten a foraged mushroom before and always counselled my garden students to do the same (the only safe mushroom is one from a grocery store). But, that said, the one I ate had no poisonous look alikes in north american and is know as the crabmeat of the forest! I love crab so I had to try! (I don’t think it really had that flavor but I only had a very small amount). My son and his partner also tried it. We were safe but I’m not gung ho to try more! LOL.

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  3. My son has gotten me interested in fungi, and he would LOVE to see all the gorgeous varieties you have up there. Your photos are fab and your Bear Teeth poem is brave in more ways than one. Yum! You should put your medium link up here so we can find you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Patricia! Congratulations on having your poem voted into the newest Pomelo anthology book! I love how you have “is a published poet!” after your name! (I might have to steal that idea!) 🙂 Anyway, regarding my post – I have not foraged a lot but we were so rewarded for our time in the forest last month! I do worry about our yellow lab (as far as eating things) so I am constantly canvassing for the poisonous fungi and get rid of them promptly if I see any. I enjoyed doing this with my son. Three years ago I organized a foraging event (I was an EE manager for a land trust) and the local university’s mycology group did a fanstastic job educating us all on site! Look for something like that if you want to hunt with a fun and educational group in your area! (I hope you don’t mind the suggestion.) Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Carol, the fungi you found are so varied and beautiful in the summer colors. I imagine the trip to the forest was exciting. Categorizing all the varied types is a research project in itself but such gains were achieved, such as the poetry you added.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carol, Thank you for your comments. The best part abotu thiese forest finds is that torest is now my yard… we do not have a large lawn anymore, and beyong the small amount of grass we do have are two acres of forest. It is wonderful to step into a place so inspiring!

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