Like all trees which had an ability to hold their leaves or needles through the winter, they [yew trees] are associated with magic, with special properties. It is said that yews symbolised death and resurrection, that they grew in sacred places, that the poison in their needles also had healing properties. At night, yews are always darker than the sunless sky against which they are seen, as though they absorb any residual light, sucking in the faint glow of stars and the moon. Nothing is emitted, nothing escapes. It is as though the thousand years of memory and change are compressed in that dense flesh, its cells toughened by the experience of the years. It is said that a post made from yew lasts longer than a post of iron.
Yew trees acquire their own mythology by accretion, by the desires of others. […] The stories and legends of yew trees eclipse all others, in the same way that the dense shade of the yew banishes other growth, as though the tree must remain aloof, not part of the growing, dying, ephemeral green world of the surrounding land.