Fungal Architecture

This poem was written for the Hot Poets participation project, linking poets & scientists together to imagine a better possible future. During a six-week programme a group of poets were tasked to research the spark of an idea with a positive environmental impact, then connect with a scientist working in that area to find out more. While researching mycelium and mycorrhizal fungi I came across Andy Adamatzky, Professor of Unconventional Computing at UWE, in my hometown of Bristol. I knew my poem had to be about his fascinating and mind-blowing work with fungal computers and the Fungal Architectures research project.

Fungal Architecture

I’m dreaming of sipping tea
in 2053
dirt under my fingernails
from digging in the musty shroomy earth
nutritious leafy loam.

Rain pitters on the window
and my sensory home knows
warms up just a little
dims the light down as I doze.

This building has mycelium ceilings –
tiny interwoven filaments
fungal threads that twine in tree roots
and through my mushroom walls.

Mycelium is free and shoots up fast
this house was bloomed in just two weeks
grown in a single monolithic piece
from fungi bound on frames of wasted cellulose –
discarded food, biomass
banana skins, coffee grounds, orange peel
and other stuff too tough to eat.

My clean home breathes, body warm
and nestles in within the trees –
smells of creamy stroganoff
I breathe it in deliciously.
Nearly sentient, this wall can feel my touch
when I lean my palm upon its velvet skin.
On the edge of thinking
my unconventional shroom computer
not quite conscious, makes smart decisions
senses when my hormones are out of whack or I am full of stress
filters air, nourishes, adjusts my meds.

We can quickly grow more homes
sustainable, living suedey rooms that gently biodegrade –
no chems, no trails – just slip away
decompose beneath our feet
when the need has gone.

Outside, wild boars forage at the tree roots
for truffles which are
talking to their mycorrhizal cousins.
My home is grown on mounds of
yesterday’s land, filling our futures
with soft-edged places
symbiotic relationships
within these mycelium walls.

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