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!
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.
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