Fungus fluxus atque Boletus subterfugans


John Wrench
December, 2006

Out of sight, but never wholly out of mind,
Although the waiting, hoping for evidence, a manifesting,
Seems endless, teasing almost –
Worthwhile, though, if it really comes about.

But why so long, so unpredictable?
Is this visible, showy upper half of earth so inhospitable
So disapproving of fecundity, of admiration for arresting shapes,
For colours and mysterious scents?

Parched, dispiriting intemperate –
From this uncongenial mode of earth’s long arid pilgrimage
All creation pauses, cringes even,
Withdraws at last to reckon its resources, new strategies,
New devices for some desperate evolving.

Then water comes again – perhaps a final brave assay,
And tissues are refreshed, resume the course
They always took to find the light and be complete.
The fascinating forms parade again, if we but know.

Then we are charmed, forgetting soon
How long we hoped for this surprise; marvelling, recording all
And urging others to make haste
In case it vanishes before they come
And decades pass until it all comes round once more.

Perhaps it never will, again
Or we have missed it,
Having passed, ourselves.

Explanation of Title
In Latin, fungus can be translated as two words, “fungus” as used by Pliny and Horace, and “boletus” as used by Pliny and Juvenal. The specific “fluxus” is used by Cicero to mean frail, transient. The specific “subterfugans” is used by Cicero to mean shy, avoiding. “Atque” is a form for “and”.