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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Mushrooms

51 Comments

  1. Nepali manche says:

    Good poem but its hard to understand. The only comment that i have to give is “this poem really tell about the rise of woman in this mercyless world”

  2. ABHI says:

    I believe this is a very strong poem abt women tht’s ever wriiten. when i first read it i thought plath had a strong character and she was a role model for women but after knowing about her death i think she actually had a very weak charcter. However the important thing is that it is an inspirational poem and all of us should DEFINATELY read it!!! i loved this poem, it actually made sense to me. The short phrases added to the Effect, The insidious effect. Sylvia’s poem has deeply touched me and her way of articulating her emotions is simply superb! How I wish she were alive!!!!! There are so many things to explore in this small poem of around 50 words!!!!!!!!!!a must read

  3. Gunjan says:

    I believe this is a very strong poem tht’s ever wriiten. when i first read it i thought plath had a strong character but after knowing about her death i think she actually had a very weak charcter. However the important thing is that it is an inspirational poem and all of us should DEFINATELY read it!!!

  4. Alina says:

    i loved this poem, it actually made sense to me. The short phrases added to the Effect, The insidious effect. Sylvia’s poem has deeply touched me and her way of articulating her emotions is simply superb! How I wish she were alive!!!!! There are so many things to explore in this small poem of around 50 words!!!!!!!!!!a must read

  5. Emily says:

    I feel that the poem is very much about change. Change creeps up and by the morning it is there. I think that change is very strong and can move even the most concrete things in life like when she mentions “even the paving” and refers to them as “nudgers and shovers”.

  6. Cayley says:

    Seriously, if you’re trying to make an intelligent comment, check your spelling…I’m assuming we’ve at least all been through grade school.

  7. Chhoksum says:

    Mushrooms is a great poem and infact it’s the best i’ve read so far. I just love the way she has used the literary devices. The poem is very simple but it conveys a big message for the world. Her work is feminist. The illustration of unexpected mushrooms is used to reflect females. Mushrooms don’t need much to sustain just like women, yet they grow in numbers. They don’t need to be taken care of and they’re found abundantly.Women don’t need to be aggressive or loud to get heard, they just simply grow together silently and create a surprise attack!I luv it. 🙂

  8. Jasmine says:

    according to other websites,this poem is about how mushrooms just seem to “pop” up without anyone noticing. That’s what Sylvia Plath thinks will happen with women. Without men realsing they were “growing” they will “pop” up and there will be no stopping them. They will be equal and a threat to male society.
    the person thinks that it is also talking about the ways in which men and women gain power. Women don’t need to be aggresive or loud can just simply grow topgether silently and create a surprise attack. Another website states that The poem is about her imminent birth, the mushroom is her unborn baby. It is about the growth of a child in her womb, like the growth of mushrooms in a dark and airless room. The whole poem is an extended metaphor. She is terrified about what is going on in her body with the ‘soft fists’ ‘hammers’ and ‘rams’. The baby is taking over her life just as mushrooms take over everything in their path. (i’m doing a Literature project for school so i’m researching on other people’s analysis on the poem) i hope that helps to answer any doubts =)

  9. stephaine says:

    does anybody know when sylvia plath wrote “mushrooms”? if u do please write to me at : [email protected]

  10. Patrick says:

    This poem has an ominous moon. The poem talks about how mushrooms grow secretly, and therefore the meaning is about a mass slowly rising ebcoming more and more powerful without anyone noticing. The mass can be anyone’s own intepretation. Some people have said it is women and i also agree with that. There are many techniques used, such as assonance and aliiteration.

  11. varin galla says:

    I think mushrooms buy sylvia plath is about mushrooms growing. The way such small insignificant things such as mushrooms can be shown as strong and can end up taking over the world. Now there are many different interpretations of this poem. Sylvia Plath wrote many poems about women rights and this could be about women rising to power and becoming more than just the insignificant beings the men see them as.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I’m surprised by these comments, I guess I must be daft because it seems to me that the poem is really about mushrooms.

  13. shania says:

    i thought this poem was about how she died which had to deal with the gas that she inhaled which was what she was trying to do but otherwise this poem was quite complicated but very enjoyful to read

  14. Bryan McClain says:

    I am doing this poem for an english project im doing, i picked this poem because it was the easiest and shortest out of the choices to memerize. But im glad i picked it because it’s such a deep poem in so many ways.

  15. Nicolina says:

    Sad but it is the true reflection of her life… of course involving her clinical depression

  16. helen freeman says:

    sorry for the spelling mistake ment to say her- recomend the poem though

  17. helen freeman says:

    on close analysis of this poem we learn of the sadness it expresses of perhaps yhe poets life and ultimately could reflect her suicide,sad but touching

  18. Chloe-Louise says:

    I think mushrooms are exelent and very very important in our social order.

  19. Perani says:

    i’m 14 years-old and we had to do this poem for a project and when we read the poem we decided that this poem was about women and how they had to take over from man..they can’t just be shelves, tables, meek, and edible..women must multiply, and inherit the earth!!
    at first i found this poem really stupid…bt the more my group and I looked for the true meaning..this poem became very interesting..now I find it a very good and interesting poem

  20. Jonas says:

    I think this poem is about her depression, and that the speaker is not Plath but her inner demons, so to speak, quietly growing while she lives her life as if everything is normal, and then one day they completely fill her mind.

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