Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath - A Friend to Jenny

In this episode, Jenny talks with us about the poem that has been a friend to her – 'Mushrooms' by Sylvia Plath.

Jenny joined The Poetry Exchange online and is in conversation with Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett and John Prebble.

Fiona reads the gift reading of 'Mushrooms'.


by Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

From Collected Poems (1981) by Sylvia Plath, published by Faber and Faber Ltd.


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