We are the interface between life and death

When an organism lets out its final breath

Who is there but the saprophytes?

To break up its corpse with tiny bites.

A useless dead body, bound to start stinking

Unless decomposed; we do the delinking

Of large complex polymers which no one could use

We thrive on variety: different textures and hues.

No discrimination, complaints or change of mood

We seek out the fallen and give you fresh food.

A network of nutrition, the whole forest floor

Is one vast web of mycelium providing door to door

Service, protection, delivery of salts,

Minerals and vitamins, we have endless vaults

Of starches and proteins, all broken up

The simplest of forms, easy to sup.

We wrap around roots, forming a mesh

Providing new life from the rotting of flesh.

With enhanced immunity and a lengthened lifespan

Every plant in the area does all that it can

To encourage our presence and shelter our mates

So we might be watch over all of their fates.

Energy flows from the roots to the shoots,

Is shared across species in generous fruits

But then in order for a seed to survive,

The soils of the forest must come alive

Sunlight and water are all very well

But both would be useless if not for the swell

Of the earth rich with humus, fragrantly given

By the eager lasting toil of our very own mycelium.



Maya Goel lives on an Organic Farm in the Western Ghats of South India which is home to an NGO called WAPRED (Worldwide Association for the Preservation and Restoration of Ecological Diversity). She has grown up in the lap of nature and spent her childhood interacting with the various creatures and plants of the rain forest around her home. She has just finished high school and will enter college this year.

Posted by Shweta Dixit