The Churchyard Yew – A Poem


Charubel was the pseudonym of the Welsh mystic, John Thomas (1826 – 1908).  The poem comes from  Charubel (1906) Psychology of Botany Minerals and Precious Stones, pp. 126-127.

The Churchyard Yew by Charubel

Revered reminder of ages long fled

Thy shade is sacred, beneath lie the dead

Those wrecks are the relics of mortality,

Their ashes now pay their tribute to thee.

Emblem of sadness! In thy ever dark-green

Trace reflections of life that has been

Life all dependent on what is most frail,

At night ’midst thy branches hear wail.

It is an echo the wave-crest the foam,

Life that is houseless, just driven from home.

In vision see thee ’mid wilds in the past,

Defiantly braving the rude winter blast.

Those winds blew o’er moor and o’er fen,

Places then free from the dwellings of men.

O’er those rude scenes the winds whistled wild,

It is thus how nature nurses her child.

How fragile so-ever the sapling may be,

’Tis doomed to shaking ere it grows to tree.

At present ’tis not so much that is seen

Of this sombre old tree, which stands between

The past and the present, the old and the new,

That I am concerned with and telling to you

But rather ’tis this the truth I’m revealing,

The Yew is healer, its powers of healing

Surpasses the body, it extends to the soul!

Poor and dejected, wilt thou be made whole

Why should you suffer such anguish of mind,

And ever be seeking for what you can’t find

Drugs and potations, all fail to control

Those greatest afflictions, those ills of the soul.

Turn thy sad soul to this grand old tree

Be earnest, be faithful, and thou shalt be free.

The exceptional Fortingall yew
The exceptional Fortingall yew
Yew in Old Minto churchyard
One of the yews in the ancient churchyard of Old Minto, Scottish Borders, abandoned in 1831.