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.

51 Comments

  1. Willy says:

    The poem is about ‘mushrooms’! nothing more and nothing less. The miracle and majesty and might of nature.
    All this pseudo-intellectual interpretation is just cranial fungii!!

  2. unhappy says:

    it was okay but not the best

  3. uday says:

    i am doin IB and my teacher gave me this poem for my commentry and i am so glad i got this poem becoz its sounds stupid if u are hearing it for the first time but it has really got depth in it when you relli understand it!!

  4. Lindsey says:

    Oh, come now. You can’t definitively say that a poem “means” this, that, or the other. The beauty of a well-written poem or any piece of art (such as this) is that the interpretation of the meaning is ambiguous and depends largely on the personal experiences that the reader brings whether consciously or subconsiously. This is why we are attracted to certain pieces of art- it reflects pieces of art back to ourselves so that we know or see our experiences in a different way or through another lens. That is why truly great art speaks to people of multiple, varied backgrounds- it is ambiguous enough to resonate with a variety or overarching theme of human experience. China or any other nation, women, the impoverished, or any socially marginalized group…. the poem is meant to mean whatever is meaningful to YOU, the reader.

  5. Jack the poet says:

    I have to agree with Roger the Cabin Boy (the battiest name by the way Pathias).This poem is blatently about china. A growing nation finding its way to world domination. Also the chinnese people are incredibly tiny and so can fit into little nooks and crannies just like mushrooms. Otherwise its about Tibetan Freedom, Muslim extremists or even Cypriots.

  6. Roger the cabin boy says:

    This poem is about the growing power of a nation, possible china. this is because there are a growing numbe of people, which matches up with the poem. Also the chinese were rated as secondclasss citizens because of the fear of communism so they were ‘shadowed’ by the class above them

  7. Elowise Vache says:

    This is an alternative view of Mushrooms, not the clychee aproach of ‘women’ or ‘nature’
    Mushrooms is a poem about love and the uprising of a nation. This nation is my china! You can tell it is about china because it says growing numbers, people working in shadows ( sweat shops ) soon to gain a prize for their work.
    Soon will dominate other nations, and will no longer be kept in the dark.
    Go to this site its great. http://www.englisharts.com

  8. allison says:

    this poem is very easy but yet confusing, i just dont know what it actually represents

  9. ea says:

    I don’t think this has anything to do with women. I think this has to do with her poems.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Hello, assuming this poem is about the feminist movement I would say that it has a deeper meaning than just the idea of the inevitability of woman’s rise to power.
    You see despite the fact that mushrooms (as an organism) grow quick and numerous their growth is also very short lived and only sustainable in very specific conditions. Because it was written from the point of view of the mushroom what I believe Plath was trying to express was the cutest in virtue in the struggle of the mushroom but the poem also high-lights the weakness in their achievement.

  11. YUKTA says:

    When i first read Mushrooms..i thought it was just some poem about a group of mushrooms and how they grow…but it surely turned out to have a rather intresting and complex meaning.the poem is not only vividly written with use of many literary devices but the message it is giving is very intresting. i think mushrooms talks about women and their empowerment which is a must. no one should be discriminated because of any reason and definately NOT because of their gender! this poem is one of my favorites and a must read!!!

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