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Mobile Photography/Art – Saturday Poetry – ‘The Moon and The Yew Tree’ by Sylvia Plath

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I am introducing a new section, simply titled, Saturday Poetry. Each Saturday I will publish a poem and I will also try to link a mobile photography image, that has been uploaded to our Instagram hashtag #theappwhisperer during the week.

As it is Halloween weekend my thoughts turned to the Yew Tree (Taxus baccata), also known as ‘the tree of the dead’. It is commonly found in churchyards throughout the United Kingdom, France and Spain. Some, it has been said have stood for between 1,300 and 3,000 years. At least 250 yews today are as old or older than the churchyards in which they stand.

It is “beneath the yew-tree’s shade” that “heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,” as Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” puts it. Taxus baccata almost invariably casts its shadow where the dead are, on the south and west sides of the church. Like the bodies it watches over, it is rarely found on the north side, and then only in exceptional circumstances.

I thought it would be appropriate to republish Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Moon and The Yew Tree’ poem today. In many ways this poem, pointedly the verse describing the yew tree, leaves us with an ominous feeling, almost a form of foreboding. She almost describes it or perhaps it’s deliberate as a phallic shape, a symbol of maleness.

Surprisingly for Halloween there’s an absence of churchyard, yew and even moon images uploaded to our Instagram group. In view of this, I have selected @sm2azimi’s image below to match with this poem. Although not featuring yew trees, I feel it captures some of the other elements of this poem.

The Moon and The Yew Tree – Sylvia Plath

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary

The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.

The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God

Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility

Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place.

Separated from my house by a row of headstones.

I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

 

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,

White as a knuckle and terribly upset.

It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet

With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.

Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky —

Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection

At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

 

The yew tree points up, it has a Gothic shape.

The eyes lift after it and find the moon.

The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.

Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.

How I would like to believe in tenderness –

The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,

Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

 

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering

Blue and mystical over the face of the stars

Inside the church, the saints will all be blue,

Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,

Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.

The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.

And the message of the yew tree is blackness – blackness and silence.

By Joanne Carter

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website— TheAppWhisperer.com— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said.
Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London.
Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - TheAppWhispererPrintSales.com has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art.
Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK.
She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: joanne@theappwhisperer.com

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