I’d love to be a mushroom
from the top of my head down to my bum
a poisoned chalice, quite intent
on harbouring evil, threatening devilment
to happy households. I’d be as thick
as the side of the ditch, morose, listless,
gloomy, totally uninvolved
in human suffering, or its vested interests.
I’d have a moist skin, slippery, smooth
both hard and soft at the same time.
I’d grow on cowpats and on trees
and suck them dry of nourishment.
I’d grow overnight, totally unbeknown
to the whole world, to specialists untold.
I’d be smaller than a bush or branch
but then shoot up over the briar patch.
I’d grow merrily on everything that died.
I’d tap their heart’s blood to the root.
I’d reach right down to the black earth
and then I’d stop and kiss their death.
Kiss all foetid things, the smell of drizzle,
decay,depression, the dried thistle,
the dire dampness, the cold and wet,
the baneful dewfall, the ‘braon anuas’.
May God forfend you take a bite
of the dread toadstool, or the Fly agaric,
the screaming puffball, the Destroying Angel
There’s no telling the unbelievable agony
that follows their ingestion, the awful torments.
And no cure known or even possible.
But I’d be happy amongst the lot
destroying life, brandishing death.
And I’d be sudden, short lived, transient,
but that is true of human habitants.
I’d give no damn for the high sun.
I’d turn away from it with scorn
and fruitfully embrace the loamy darkness,
the twilight haze, the gloaming’s half-light,
the close, sultry and oppressive heat,
the fog right down the mountain slopes.
Some day I’ll be a mushroom
pushing up through the clay and the heavy coffin
and my long, pallid arms will clasp
each likely lad and lovely lass.
‘braon anuas’ in O’ Duinnin’s Dictionary is glossed as
‘roofleakage, fig. misfortune, wretchedness, reproof,