Ode to If
The yew is an If in French.
Guardian of churchyards
It roots creed in doubt, believing
Than not, Most ancient tree
It pays no heed to generations or centuries,
or the double effects of its taxanes
on living beings.
Yew poison is nothing like Socrates’ hemlock.
Its movements precede judgement,
honor and principle are questioned.
If infusions bypass the lips, altogether,
a catheter planted in the breast
leads the doubtful melange directly
to the heart, and mind.
The cure destroys all cells that
grow in haste, ancient recipes are
careless of side effects; at times the body
vibrates, like lute strings echoed
in a slow-grown, yew-hewn chamber.
Note by note, I become bittersweet,
a queston, an if.