If You Go
Down in the Woods Today…
The woodland reeks of rotting carrion,
a stink ranker, more noisome, than the garlic stench
exhaled by drifts of ramsons in the spring.
We turn aside into a hazel coppice,
hurry from the path into a brushwood thicket,
through a stand of larch, tripping over brambles,
and twined in bines of honeysuckle.
Our feeble primate noses give us no lead to follow;
blundering at hazard through a screen of elder,
we reach a fly-loud glade chequered with sunlight.
There, not what we had feared, the rotting body
of some lost soul, or dismembered remnants from a murder;
not even the carcass of a badger or a dog.
This scene will need no SOCOs or forensics.
Thrusting from the leaf mould and larch needle litter,
amidst a rejoicing throng of blowflies,
a priapic gamut: tumescent, tumid, flaccid
White shafts each crowned with a fetid glans,
oozing not climactic semen, but an olive tacky discharge
as if infected with an STD.
Some fester, dying in a post coital droop.
Phallus impudicus is their Linnean name.
We vulgar English call them Stinkhorns.
A mycological parody of lust and death
flaunted in these sulphurous erections.
If you have any comments on this poem, Paul Walker
would be pleased to hear from you.