Sunday, March 18, 2007

American Life in Poetry: Column 102

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Those of us who have hunted morel mushrooms in the early spring have hunted indeed! The morel is among nature's most elusive species. Here Jane Whitledge of Minnesota captures the morel's mysterious ways.


Morel Mushrooms

Softly they come
thumbing up from
firm ground

protruding unharmed.
Easily crumbled
and yet

how they shouldered
the leaf and mold
aside, rising

unperturbed,
breathing obscurely,
still as stone.

By the slumping log,
by the dappled aspen,
they grow alone.

A dumb eloquence
seems their trade.
Like hooded monks

in a sacred wood
they say:
Tomorrow we are gone.


Reprinted from "Wilderness Magazine," Spring, 1993, by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 1993 by Jane Whitledge. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

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