The yew tree

A mile from Pencaitland on the road to the sea. stands a yew tree a thousnads years old.
and the old women swear by the grey of their hair that it knows what the future will hold.
For the shadows of Scotland stand round it ‘mid the kail and the corn and the kye
all the hopes and the fears of a thousand long years under Lothian sky
My bonny yew tree tell me what did you see.

Did you look through the haze, of the long summer days, to the South and the far english border?
All the bonnets of steel, on Flodden’s far field, did they march by your side i good order?
Did you ask them the price of their glory, when you heard the great slaughter begin,
for the dust of their bones, would rise up frae the stones, to bring tears to the eyes of the wind
My bonny yew tree, tell me what did you see.

And I thought as I stood, and laid hands on your wood, that it might be a kindnessto fell you.
One kiss of the axe, and you’re freed frae the racks, of the sad boody tales that we tell you.
But a wee bird fly out frae your branches, and sang out as never before.
and the words of the song, were a thousand years long, to learn them’s a long thousand more.
My bonny yew tree, tell me what did you see.

Brian Mc Neill

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