The Grand Yew – All Saints’ Church
One of the oldest trees in the village standing guard at All Saints
(edited 22nd March 2021)
I visit this graveyard often,
the gravid whispers of the dead verdant,
rising from beneath the long unkempt grass
to commune with the wind touched trees,
leaves trembling under the unfleshed force.
I listen resting on the plaqued bench –
“For J.J. Berryman, Husband
To Margaret, Father to John and Craig” –
shaded by the dark canvas of the Grand Yew,
for seven centuries a guardian
standing at the Gate of the Dead,
guiding all souls through, as all are worthy,
shaped from the first innocent breast.
Its trunk – ravaged, twisted and split,
by the entropic cuts of time and men
still, through some wondrous mechanism,
continues to feed its green canopy –
now stands fenced to protect it from
the casual vandalism
of school children passing to and from
The Howard, host to the opposite of solitude,
but they too, in time, will fall beneath its spell
and tread the path mapped by its prescient sprigs.
This is a fine poem with some excellent observations I especially like the last two rather philosophical lines. I can understand why some people are creeped out when in grave yards. I find them interesting (perhaps not at night though) and often very sad when you read the ages of some of the dead. Some cemeteries are in very beautiful settings, I get the impression yours is rather a pretty place. I visited the Jewish cemetery in Prague twenty odd years ago. Some of the inscriptions on the walls of the Pinkas synagogue are heart breaking, but I do wonder… Read more »
Thanks G. I’m going through my communing with nature phase – albeit with a bit of help from my dogs, who been dragging me all over the village these past few months – and this is one of the pieces which emerged from the chrysalis which is my dormant brain! There is so much history associated with all that is around us, and we just have to be open to it.
To your point about heart breaking, there is a bench on a wooded path and the inscription is dedicated to a baby – born October and died November.
Nice work, Bhi. Another poem another magnificent tree/plant. It’s been my feeling since i was a kid that places take on impressions, especially strong emotional outpourings from people. The flora and fauna included.
Thanks CW. The dog walks are providing the inspiration at the moment. And you’re correct; we colour our environments.
A fine evocation of an English church graveyard; we have a similar one in our village, two weeks ago saw an old friend interned there; and there is a special peace in these places.
D, glad you enjoyed the evocation. No matter where the graveyards there s always a sense of serenity. I walked through Brompton Cemetery 2 weeks ago and despite it being in a busy area of London, as soon as you enter through the gates peace descends, the noise disappears!
I think it has great potential but needs polishing. Just to give you and idea I will sent you an edited version, if you please.
Thank you IYP, I will look at your edits.
Oh gosh! Did I get the atmosphere! Really well presented poem. This is a place I know – save for the fact that the tree is different, and the graves are those of other erstwhile fellow travellers.
Thanks for reading Allen. There are three graveyards in the village and this one is the most peaceful, despite the passing chatter of the school children.