Corstorphine Sycamore


he Lord of Corstorphine, a drunken philanderer
neglected the family estates,
flew into a rage and attacked his love
with a sword that she wrested from him.
She killed him and fled
but was caught and hung
dressed in a hood of white.

White Lady wailing, haunted Corstorphine’s sycamore,
blood on the blade of the sword
with which she had slain her lord.
She wailed with the wind on Boxing Day Night,
the night of the terrible storm.
Four hundred years of tree and ghost
brought to a splintering end.

There was no treasure at the roots of the tree
but the wood was dried and preserved.
In the hands of a craftsman, the legend restored
took the shape of a violin.
On moonlit nights, when the fiddler plays
the white lady wails once more
and the sycamore lives again.


This post is part of a series on trees. Submit your tree features to snakeoilcure[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Juliet Wilson is an Edinburgh-based writer, conservation volunteer, and adult education tutor, teaching creative writing and birdwatching. She blogs at Crafty Green Poet (, tweets @craftygreenpoet and edits the online poetry journal Bolts of Silk ( Her other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.