voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...

The Kingdom of Ignorance

by Donald Levering

Armillaria bulbosa,

a common mushroom, can grow

larger than a blue whale.

One was found in Minnesota

whose cytoplasm spans

thirty-seven acres underground.


It weighs fifteen-hundred tons

and is as many years old.

No other mushroom

dares to grow in its realm.

Let us toast to invisible spores

extending the Kingdom of Fungi.


And across the savanna

elephants signal each other

in sounds too low for human ears.

They tell about water, poachers,

or to come to the funeral

of one of their fallen.


Oh, the boulder aflame

with migrating Monarch butterflies,

the salmon's return

to the scent of its spawning,

the data dance of bumblebees,

the vastness of armillaria bulbosa.


We could trek to Minnesota

to honor this mushroom monarch,

then on to the boundless domain

of Siberian tundra

claimed by a single slime mold.

Here’s to fungal reigns


unmapped and unexplained.

Praise be to mold

on the food that we hoard,

to the shaved heads of ringworm,

to stinky feet and itchy crotch.

And to the universe of scents,


of which the common dog

is a scholar.

Here's to the solemn procession

of elephants

and to our ignorance

and awe


Donald Levering

Santa Fe, New Mexico


Donald Levering was born in Kansas City and grew up there and in Oceanside, New York.  He received the Quest for Peace Prize in rhetoric, was featured in the Academy of American Poets Forum, the Ad Astra Poetry Project, and the Duende Reading Series. Recently he received the 2014 Literal Latté Award; and was 1st Runner-Up for the Mark Fischer Prize in 2015. His 6th full-length book, The Water Leveling with Us from Red Mountain Press, placed 2nd in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Creative Verse Book Competition. His latest book is Coltrane’s God. is a non-commercial project, an online anthology, to share a poetic vision of the land we love.

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