The Yew

Taxus baccata is a conifer native to western, central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia. It is the tree originally known as yew, though with other related trees becoming known, it may now be known as common yew, English yew, or European yew.’ Wikipedia

Needles of toxicity
Hardened death bringer
But Celtic resurrector.

There are many myths surrounding the Yew tree. It is one of the most lon lived trees around and its wood is very dense and therefore good for things like furniture making. Yet every part except the fleshy part of the fruit is toxic to humans (although you would have to eat over 50 – 100 grams!). Some animals do not seem to get poisoned by eating yew.

There was tree in the graveyard at Selborne, Hampshire UK, which was reputedly about 1400 years old. Its girth was 26 feet. Unfortunately it fell in a gale in 1990 and did not recover.

The trees are evergreen although the needles do fall at times of the year. There are male and female trees and in the early Spring the male ‘flower’ send out clouds of pollen. The berries are not real berries but form small red fleshy blobs on the female trees.

Celtic mythology links the tree to both death and resurrection. This idea builds on the ancient Norse tradition of Yggdrasil, which in turn links back to the ancient world-wide stories of the Tree of Life or Tree of Knowledge.

References: https://www.ancient-yew.org/s.php/frequently-asked-questions/2/2 : https://www.hampshire-history.com/the-great-yew-of-selborne/:https://www.backyardnature.net/yew.htm

Little Me

My house is my home
And it goes where I roam
And as I grow big
So does it.
It’s always my size
Never too tight a fit
Though I eat and I graze
All night long.
Though it’s comfy and warm
And it keeps me from harm
I never eat in; watch TV.
So tonight I’ll eat out
While the birds not about
And I hope you won’t
Mind little me.

Poem and photo copyright Englepip©


Writer’s block


How does one deal with a brain that is blank
No interest in anything: dead?
How can one enthuse and react and excite
When the vacancy hangs like a cloud?
How can one exist in a life that seems full
Yet a whirlpool of nothingness looms?
How can one write when one’s mind can’t be found
When the Muse shuts all doors with dull sound?

I’ll sit here awhile and I’ll tap the keyboard
Try to shift torpor from my brain.
I’ll struggle to share the Lethe I feel,
Try to energise life from the depths;
And if even that fails, at least I’ll have tried
For my audience, a verse to provide.

Poem and photo copyright Englepip©

Love Like Thistledown

Your love is like a thistledown.

So soft and smooth, was our delight

As to lie upon it for the night. 

You, my love, and I would bed,

A tender pillow at our head.

Under down that’s silky smooth,

As is your skin, which I had wooed.

But come the Spring with seeds unsprung

When new shoots shot and leaves unwound

Then spikes they grew with wretched prickles

To wreck our bed with constant bristles

And love which started gossamer-light,

Turned to splinters overnight –

That pricked and stuck beneath the skin,

Unleashing a spite that underpinned

A love not firm, based on flocculent things:

For thistledown that’s smooth without

Is treacherous, secret-sharp within;

Beguiling love: your gentleness

Has a  knife-edged paradox built in.

Photo, poem and idea, copyright to Englepip©

Glass and steel

Bush and grass;
Nomadic units.
Mud and thatch;
A season’s shelter.
Timber, wattle and daub;
A whole community.
Stone and flint and brick,
Lots of brick and stone;
Built to last;
A permanence:
Solidity, reliability
Cities and government
Confirmation of continuity
Substance, dependability.

Cold steel;
Reflective, shiny
Repellant
Outward gloss;
Hard.
And glass
All revealing
Transparent glass.
Windows to the outside
Portals to the inside.
Transparency and truth
Everyone can see;
Everything.

 Words , poem and photo copyright Englepip©

The last few decades have seen a new architecture throughout the world. There is a change in style and feeling and I wanted to express how our architecture says a lot about us socially. This is a picture of Basingstoke, once a small market town evolving into a commercial hub – the place where Burberrys were invented in a small retailers; where Eli Lilly and Smiths industries and Lansing Bagnall led the way; where the Automobile Association still is based in what was until recently the tallest building between Hampshire and America; where the bank note printers De La Rue still has its headquarters on the edge of town. But as we move away from industry and manufacturing, – this is on the edge of the Uk’s silicon valley – to ethernet and internet and the need to face each other and work together physically, so architecture has changed. From solid stone with a ‘built to last’ feel, we have moved to glass and steel. Does it represent the unforgivingness of the working environment today? Does the transparency of glass mean that – yes we can see you are not hiding things but that you are being watched all the time? Does the brittleness of glass reflect the ease with which our individual worlds can be smashed and broken?

New Year 2019

We cannot see the future;
It’s not for us to view.
It’s hidden in the mists of time
Along a path that’s new.
Though we can learn from past mistakes
Our future is always obscured
By an unknown gulf of wonder
Whose outcome is never sure.
But with hope and heart
And willingness to strive
For what is best
Our prospects can be joyful
Fulfilling; truly blessed.

Happy New Year for 2019.

Verse and photo copyright Englepip©