Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mushrooms’

Read this poem. Do pause to reflect first on the poet’s visualisation of mushrooms and then ponder as to what the poet is actually talking about.


A backlit mushroom - Sylvia Platt's poem talks about seeing things in a new way - in this case, the rights of women after World War II.

Like Sylvia Platt's poem talks about seeing things in a new way, this photo of a backlit mushroom looks at the subject from a new angle and does exactly what Sylvia Plath intended this poem to do - hold a silent issue up to the light.

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,

Stamp_of_Moldova_364Perfectly 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.

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was a very sensitive and complex poet and writer who explored through this poem a suppressed issue – the rights of women after World War II.


  • Back-lit mushroom Eric Meyer’s image is licensed under GFDL and Creative Commons SA 3.0 at Wikimedia Commons.
  • Sylvia Plath’s image -Copyrighted.  Used non-commercially here under fair use.
  • Moldovan stamp image – Public Domain. see here.


A special thank you to all my visitors !  Many of you may have come here on a quest for Sylvia Plath or her famous poem rather than in quest of nature or my blog.  So many of you have come here that my blog’s visit rate and rankings have gone up.

I thank you all for that and have made a “Do you know – Mushrooms” here for your viewing pleasure as a gesture of thanks.

Please do look around. If you find a nice post and enjoy it, I will feel happy that I could repay you in some way for your gracious spending of your time here!

Explore posts in the same categories: mushrooms, nature, poetry, postage stamps, Sylvia Plath

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10 Comments on “Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mushrooms’”

  1. Iniyaazh Says:

    Beautiful poem…
    “We shall by morning
    Inherit the earth.
    Our foot’s in the door.”
    Words that leave a lasting impression!

  2. Ava Says:

    I have quoted the poem twice. I love this poem. Whether you see it as a treatise on mushrooms or superimpose it on some other issue. That is what great poems are – they fit many hands.

  3. Aha, finally it struck a chord with someone. 🙂

    The ‘problem’ with nature poetry is that it is often allegorical with more serious issues in life, as it should be if it is good poetry. However, the natural appreciation may lag a little, as it is in the case of this poem.

  4. Ava Says:

    I remember our hindi classes where we had to divide the ‘meanings’ of poem into ‘arthath’ (literal meaning) and ‘kehne ka tatyparya ye’ (the allegorical reference). But it is the element of mystery that makes a poem great. Or else it just becomes a simple ditty that say ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and recited in nursery schools.

  5. Ava Says:

    I have an award from you at my rotteneggstrikes blog.. Pl pick it up.

  6. angel Says:

    i like ur “the mirror”

  7. […] The busiest day of the year was December 10th with 455 views. The most popular post that day was Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mushrooms’. […]

  8. ute Says:

    I think she was very strange and seemed tortured

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