Rachael Clyne and some wild places

The new Featured Writer is Rachael Clyne whose wonderful new book, Song of the Bone Tree, published by Indigo Dreams Press, was launched last week. These poems are visceral and earthy and there is a marvellous crow poem I couldn’t show you because WordPress likes things to be in apple-pie order and so her poem called As the Crow, which asks for broken up and indented lines, wouldn’t work. I’m very sorry about that. All of Rachel’s poems in this pamphlet from IDP have their feet in the soil and like to wiggle their toes in mud or unexpectedly take off to fly in wild directions through the air. Congratulations to her for winning the award.

Last week took me to wild places in West Penwith, near Land’s End in Cornwall – places that Rachael knows and loves, too.Everywhere there were so many clues to the past of this place it felt like being an inexpert archaeological detective for a week. Celtic stone crosses along campion-thick and foxgloved paths between two deep wishing wells complete with ‘clouties’ in the area round Carn Euny which is a prehistoric village with a ‘fogou’ (an underground passage which also has a local moss that is phosphorescent) and Boscawen Un is a mysterious and magical stone circle with a central stone at an angle, the Merry Maidens is another stone circle and there are two stone ‘fiddlers’ near by.

The Cornish language beckons you from every signpost and farm name, from every headland or rocky point named as each one is for a reason with a great story behind it. Then there was the house called Chygurno where the suffragettes found a haven to recover from their various imprisonments, now a fantastically beautiful garden. There is the Minack Theatre built singlehandedly by a woman who brought stones up from the shore. The Cornish language is a great deal more than a thin layer beneath the surface of everything. Then there are the mines and their terrible histories, the families who depended on them and the names of the dangerous and precious minerals and ores they brought to the surface. The Levant Mine burrowed for 60 miles under the sea!

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While in the sea (sparkling blue and turquoise all week) there are creatures we rarely see… sunfish, barrel jelly fish, porpoise, dolphins and we spotted one small basking shark off Land’s End.

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In its hunt for plankton a large basking shark sifts the volume of an Olympic swimming pool of water every hour. HOUR! Another thing I didn’t know till this week is that when there are smoother streaks and patches on the surface of the sea it’s the sign that plankton are plentiful there.  I assumed it was caused by currents or winds.  See what I mean there are clues in nature and in the hedges and fields and rocks and coves everywhere! But most of the time we don’t know how to read them.

Perhaps it’s time to get this amazing book about clues in the landscape that I’ve just found out about: http://www.naturalnavigator.com/news/2014/04/sunday-times-book-review

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About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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12 Responses to Rachael Clyne and some wild places

  1. roz bound says:

    Hi Becky – Rachael is a friend of mine from Glastonbury!! How lovely! You link us all, love, Roz

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  2. Thank you Becky I feel honoured to be among the featured and yes, West Penwith one of my holy places. My friend Cheryl Straffon writes lots of books about the sites.

  3. eleanorjvale says:

    Hi Becky! all sounds well with you – but don’t think Lelant burrowed for sixty miles under the sea…..check?   dear Cornwall, I love it x

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  4. But didnt I say LeVant! I meant to: must check! It was 60 miles when you add up all the different levels of tunnel and their octopus tentacles going in all directions! I got the info from Geevor Mine. Nice to hear from you and hope you’re keeping well in East Anglia.

  5. Stella Wulf says:

    So glad you jogged my memory with this one, Becky. I have just bought Rachel’s book and am very much looking forward to reading it.

  6. E.E. Nobbs says:

    I’ve just been reading Rachael’s poems on your Featured Poet’s page – the “Parting” one has startled me… it’s just what I needed to read… that third verse is like a call to arms….gives me faith that there are indeed ways to keep in touch with the ones we care about … if we learn such things as whale calls and “rattle the niceties” …. love that 🙂 Thank you, Rachael.

    So please you had such a fine holiday to Cornwall, Becky. I’d love to be at Land’s End. What is that amazing tall plant with all the wee blue flowers? Is that a bee at the very top? How tall is it?

  7. I have only ever seen it before on the Scilly Islands… thought it needed v warm winds and sub-sub-tropical conditions. These were on the coast and v mild but the winds could be damaging you would think for something so high. Surprisingly shallow rooted for somethign so tall.

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