Willow, wicker, wicca,
binding birch and ash
on witches’ brooms.
First to leaf, the last
to lose. Water seeker.
Accessory to earth's
nature’s bones of stone.
Wanted to know who danced
to the flute while you slept
through the death time of winter.
One primordial morning
your memory showed you
the sacred hazel, invoked
by poets and seekers.
You asked him to be spared
the shedding until he grew tired
of your begging.
Do you know now? No flute,
no dance. Just winter's
unforgiving hold. Frozen
your gesture of seeking favours,
you lost your power of giving.
Found in Triassic era fossils
from 200,000,000 years ago, the yew survived
our planet’s climatic changes. It connects
to those who went before.
Yew wood was used for spears, spikes, staves,
long bows, sacred carvings, magic wands.
Arrows were tipped with yew poison.
Powerful protection against evil, the yew
is the bringer of dreams and other-world journeys,
the source of stillness, herald of death,
of new beginnings, transformation, rebirth.
The tree once sacred to Hecate
formed Druid groves, marked blind springs,
and leyline crossings.
Symbol of the afterlife.
The early Christian priests, while denying
the old gods, would yet build their churches
within the Druid's sacred circles.
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection (TANGENTS) published in 2011 in the UK, well over 100 of her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a good two dozen US poetry reviews as well as some print anthologies, and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third price in in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), was semi-finalist in the Naugatuck poetry contest 2012/13 and has been a finalist in several GR contests, winning it in October 2014, a new poetry collection is in the process of publication in the US.