Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Pale Hidden Kingdom

fall mushrooms

Here was my thought process this past week: "Oh wow, what a beautiful mushroom photo...it would be perfect for my fungi poem. But wait, no, I can't post that...what will people think? It's sad. If I post my sad poems, people will think I'm this depressed, melancholy person who never showers or leaves the house. They won't want to read my blog anymore...they'll avoid me and think I'm strange. The poem makes me feel too vulnerable...I can't expose myself like that. I really want to share it, though...what if it resonates with someone else? Ugh...no, I don't think I should post it. Should I?" *repeat 10 times with anxiety*

Poetry is my "let's get real place". It is where I work out not only my joy of life, but more importantly, my struggles, my low moments, my pain...which means it's not always happy. When I feel sad, the poetry starts...I need to get those feelings out. But my sad poems are written about temporary emotions, not permanent states of mind. In the thick of them, I write, I release...I feel better and can get back to my happier self. They are small pieces of me, but not the whole picture. This poem is about those moments when we're struggling and are temporarily overcome with sadness...we've all been there. We fall into a hole for a little bit before gathering our strength, grabbing onto our hope(faith), and pulling ourselves out.

Regardless of my fears, I've decided that my desire to share my poetry is strong enough that I will dare to share it...all of it. It has a message and I hope, as any writer does, that maybe someone will read it and feel connected, or less alone, or validated. So here it is, my fungi poem. I post it with pure intentions and a compassionate heart for the difficulty of sitting with those sad moments...

For this image, I surface blurred Kim's "partings" texture (thank you for that tip, Kim!) to add purely tonal changes to my image. I liked the very subtle effect! I used the Darker Color blend mode, at 52%.


In the right conditions
My sad thoughts thrive
Growing overnight like a
Patch of mushrooms
Deceptively bland on
The surface, yet their gills
Gape like open wounds
On the underbellies of
Wickedly smooth caps
A pale hidden kingdom
Fruiting into my spirit
The root of the root
And I try to choke them
Trampling them in the grass
Pelting them with pebbles
But they keep growing back

So I whisper to them, plead
With my silver tongue
Gouge them with my golden pen
Tend to them helplessly and
Toss away the mossy rocks
With a hand's human span
So they can breathe across
This presentiment of loss
Will they ever be
Done with me, I think to
Myself, as I wait in this
Perilous place, and they
Absorb my turmoil's shapes
Sporing the wan curves
Of my ache.

© Sherri Brannon

"Poetry is the way I pay attention, appreciate, give praise, struggle, grieve, rage, and pray. It’s the way I embody my love for the world." ~Ellen Bass



  1. Very nice shot, must have been difficult.


  2. As always, your poetry and images are wonderful and there is even beauty in the sadness. We all have those days, some that are fleeting and some that try to stay for a while - thank you for sharing this and for your vulnerability and your honesty. I like real . . . xo

  3. Beautiful photo - I especially like how the light comes through in the background. So glad you decided to share your poetry. I always enjoy reading your poems!

  4. Great photo and poem. glad you decided to share it!

  5. Beautiful imagery through your lens and your words.

  6. Lovely image! Great use of texture, too.

  7. BEautimously and extravagantly done. WOW!!

    First, the photo and your processing. Kind of over my birdbrain head, but... I've filed it away where all discovered treasures go. The image itself is exquisite.

    The poem and your thoughty thoughts prior to reading... a whole other kind of wondrous deLIGHT. I, too, get "poemy" every morning when I write Gratitude and I am Now sharing that on a blog, too. I used to feel squeamish sometimes, and occasionally I still get the butterflies about sharing it "out loud."

    Yet it is just as you say, "They are small pieces of me, but not the whole picture." Sometimes we need to get the thoughts off the little wheels inside, and poeming does it for me, too. [my only "troubled-by-what-you-wrote-feedback" seems to come from my mum, who seems NOT to realise that bit about small pieces thus requires some talking in off a ledge when she decides to digest a week's worth of Gratitude ;~D]

    Lovely and a pleasure to visit!!

  8. Wonderful photo and words. I just love mushrooms!

  9. Oh Sherri, I know how you feel.
    I also write poetry (used to at least) and it would only flow when I was intensely sad. It helped me express myself and I always felt better after that. That sadness was mostly temporary but anyone reading my poems would have definitely thought that I was a melancholy girl :)
    I actually am slightly melancholic but I've come to accept it over the years :)
    You write so beautifully. Please always keep sharing.