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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.