Yew Trees at Overton – a poem by Simon Fletcher

Yew Trees at Overton

These ancient trees mark out a playing card
of shadowed space, some used to call God’s field.
Two dozen yews, or thereabouts, have stood
on guard for fifteen hundred years, a place
of rest, defining peace, defying flood.

What hermit/ local saint decided then
he needed these grim ones for company?
Or was the yew thought powerful in lore,
bit gloomy, yes, but here since time began,
and thus to be protection ever more?

We need some time to sit and think
To watch the guttering candle’s flame;
Some pause to ponder, contemplate
Our flash-by culture in its frame.

The trunks are reddish brown and fluted, shaped
like columns seen in medieval aisles;
the foliage evergreen and dark as wrath;
the toxic seeds are held in scarlet cups,
their few remains are scattered on the path.

The oldest tree needs props and chains to hold
it up, has seen millennial goings on,
but yet appears benign for all to see
on this damp, bitter-blowing winter’s day;
a comfort, raft above the river Dee.

We need some time to sit and think
To watch the guttering candle’s flame;
Some pause to ponder, contemplate
Our flash-by culture in its frame.

Simon Fletcher is widely published and is currently a ‘Poet on Loan’ in West Midland Libraries (ACE-funded).  He runs monthly live literature events and also tutors for the Workers’ Educational Association.  Author of 4 full collections, his most recent, Close to Home, was published by Headland, 2015. (www.simonfletcher.net)

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