Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Poem 53 of 230:  WHY THE YEW?

To paraphrase one of my uncles,
    Showing a church in Hertfordshire:
When you see an old English parish,
    There'll be yews in its yard, for sure.

“Why the yew?” I obviously asked.
    They were planted, he said, to stop
A resting-shepherd’s sheep chewing-up
    The parish-graveyard’s gardened top -

Odour tells them:  choose another crop.
    (But another thought, I've since heard,
Is that churches were built near yews -
    Sacred-sites the pagans preferred.)

(C) David Franks 2003

Church of Saint James, Didsbury; 13/5/15

Norcliffe Chapel, Styal, Cheshire; 17/4/19