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.

© Bhi 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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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 »


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.


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.


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.


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.

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