Thursday, December 28, 2017

fungus like the char-broiled

a fungus world

the fungus surprises me
as it works it will upon the woods,
upon the trunks toppled in last spring’s wind storms,
and upon standing trunks only partly consumed
by the Great Fire late last fall,

I am intrigued by trees that still seem alive,
but charred their first feet from the ground,
and, in that black char, fungus colonizes and erupts,
often in spectacularly beautiful shape,

I wonder if the mycelia will consume only dead wood,
like maggots were used in earlier times
to get rid of infested flesh
and leave healthy flesh alone,

some large pines have exuded sticky sap in the char,
and I wonder why,

for now, the fungus is a wonder.

by Henry H. Walker
December 24, ’17

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