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This article is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

Smuts and Shrooms Lisa Kelly
In Search of Cowbane Rust

Daughter, Son, some rusts are rare
Their hosts are rare, that’s why
If I’m long gone, don’t despair
I’m on the Broads with watchful eye

Their hosts are rare, that’s why
I paddle down Wheatfen dyke
I’m on the Broads with watchful eye
Slipping off with otter and pike

I paddle down Wheatfen dyke
Checking for cowbane at the edge
Slipping off with otter and pike
Fingers brushing willow and sedge

Checking for cowbane at the edge
I found clumps, but none had rust
Fingers brushing willow and sedge
Hope of a parasite come to dust

I found clumps, but none had rust
If I’m long gone, don’t despair
Hope of a parasite come to dust
Daughter, Son, some rusts are rare



Red Data List of Threatened British Fungi: Mainly Smuts

Smut, lie down with me in annual meadow grass that tickles
our pelts. Smut, be barley covered and reeking of beer,
a bearberry redleaf prim on each pinkish part. Smut, with your bedstraw hair,
bestow no interloper a bird’s eye view. My promise, a primrose
with its fairy caretaker that no bog asphodel, no bone-breaker
will I brook, smut. As a chick weeds out a worm, I will weed out
all burrowing doubts, all jealousies, all winter green looks
on our love, smut, ...


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