‘If we are on a path of initiation into the secrets of landscape, earthlore and healing, the yew tree can become a powerful heirophant.’
This sentence, embedded in Jehanne Mehta’s Heart of Yew, her book of poems inspired by the Yew, suggests something extraordinary: that a particular kind of tree can act as act as an initiator and spiritual guide. And if you have spent time beneath a yew tree you may well have sensed this, and while poetry collections can sometimes leave one disappointed, this particular collection I find deeply satisfying. It is accompanied by a CD which features Jehanne’s beautiful voice reading her poems with musical interludes played by Fred Hageneder, who is himself one of the world’s foremost experts on the Yew tree. His new book on the yew will be published by Reaktion Books in October.
Here is more on Jehanne’s book, from the publisher:
Anyone who stands quietly beneath a Yew Tree and allows their mind to absorb the atmosphere it emanates will immediately sense a deep mystery, and a vast store of ancient wisdom. Jehanne Mehta has spent years discovering and absorbing the essence of the Yew Tree, and in Heart of Yew her ponderings come to full flower. Her profoundly moving and evocative poems connect you with the Yew Tree as a powerful teacher and witness to our history (as Yew Trees are capable of living for thousands of years), providing immensely valuable metaphors for the struggles we encounter as we learn to know and express our individual uniqueness more deeply, which is so essential if we are to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Andy McGeeny’s photographs, which accompany the poems, will provide your senses with another doorway into the mystery of this majestic tree, which is known to many as the physical version of the Tree of Life. On the accompanying CD, Jehanne – whose speaking voice is superbly resonant and beautiful – reads her poems aloud and Fred Hageneder – moved by the words of the poems and his great love of the Yew – plays the most magical music on his yew-wood harp. Anyone who loves trees will find in this book and CD a very great treasure.48pp, 165mm x 165mm softback book + CD, 9 tracks, total running time 30 mins, 2012