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
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!