Jeffrey Greene

On Clitocybe Nuda | On Oysters
June 12, 2014 Greene Jeffrey

On Clitocybe Nuda


Peak of autumn’s deepening yellow

spotted with red on a slope

flaring a meadow,

a docile cow chained to the grass buzz,

folk songs, and Rock, no wind,

just the draft beginnings of a Polish wedding.

We are collecting mushrooms

above the pink municipal building

turned private home

since the Soviets, where weddings

are taken seriously I am told,

young people at the “passing gate”

where vodka is the toll.

It’s special, no?  She says,

a dowry in another time

if the bride had been an orphan.

Which ones are these?

Spilt-wine, slick bulging cap

that smells of canned juice—

Clitocybe Nuda.

I know, she says,

it sounds like something else,

this lilac above moist duff,

shafts of saffron light.



On Oysters


Among the lush cornucopia of foods,

some half-eaten, some in the gyres

of their own skins, lemons, vanitas

life unraveling, the tipped-over goblet,

another half-full, sweet wine as in

a tulip, abandoned, the planetary grapes,

red dressed in squares of window light.

Amid this oyster glisten, gray-

green to silver, round on half shells,

the wild type in the Calvinist mind,

a little naughty sea fruit so real it

anoints the master brushstroke

in the Dutch Golden Age and you

can almost see their rimmed petals

contract to a finger’s touch, then

swell again, tidy flesh, pumps

of tissue, tears in a cup, the broad

Atlantic that passes for lips.

Jeffrey Greene is the author of four poetry collections, including Beautiful Monsters (Pecan Grove Press, 2010). His memoir, French Spirits (Harper Perennial, 2003), has appeared in eight countries, and he has written two personalized nature books, Water from Stone and The Golden-Bristled Boar: Last Ferocious Beast of the Forest (University of Virginia Press, 2011). Shades of the Other Shore (Sylph Editions, 2013), a sequence of dialogue sketches, prose pieces, and poetry, was written in collaboration with painter Ralph Petty for The Cahier Series, and his latest nature book, Wild Edibles, is under contract.