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The Unexpected


I like September.


It's not just that it feels as though the effort of keeping summer going can be given up, almost with a sense of relief.


No, it's more than that - here's a new season, fresh in its own special way.


As September contains a quarter day (itself relating to the solstice) I read that it was a time when people were hired, land was exchanged and debts paid.


So various things start now, like the academic year, making it a month for new beginnings - 
although it draws heavily on recent growth, sometimes hardly noticed.

And then there's all the fruit, of course, only too often celebrated poetically...

But much more interesting are the arrivals that startle.

I mean the fungi - extraordinary things which literally spring up overnight.

Not things though - they're living plants.  
No, not plants - organisms - but that doesn't sound right.
As for the proper term 'fruiting body' - well, that suggests something quite different.  They are worlds away from all those apples, pears, plums, sloes, hips, haws and drupes.

These may be fruits of a kind, but it's now thought that, while they're placed in a kingdom of their own (I love the use of kingdoms in this context) genetically they're closer to the animal than the vegetable kingdom.

Strange growths indeed, which should not be unexpected, yet they surprise. 

Unexpected at first glance, only to become more surprising, the closer they're looked at.
They may seem like other things, yet they're not really like them...
curiouser and curiouser...



Field Mushroom

Unexpected - this is no plant
but machinery made from flesh
discarded in the grass.
Here’s an air intake from a jet
with several soft fins crumpled.
I turn it over in my hands to see
a scabby disc, rust flakes peeling,
scorched, as if exposed to radiation
one flattened breast excised complete
with areola.  I rotate it
heavy on its shaft and flick
the gills which never breathed.

Unexpected – here is life –
seething in the flesh
coggy maggots twist and turn –
little wheels inside an engine
working in their darkness
to transform flesh, recycle scrap,
digest the meat and make new growth –
unseen soaring spores pour forth
out of this rotting fruiting body –
not plant, machine, nor breast, or fish
but mushroom, which you might expect
I could have picked and eaten.




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Richard Westcott, Southernhay, North Street, South Molton, EX36 3AN


Comments

  1. i can smell it. thanks. and what about the Kombuchan kind?!

    ReplyDelete

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Fulfilling only some of the criteria for qualifying for life status, here are strange creatures indeed, not that that's the right word at all - not organism, more construction, set of instructions or even just a programme.  So the use of the word in computer malfunction is hardly metaphorical...
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A…