Singing at the Bone Tree

Singing at the Bone Tree


Thirteen women gather at a residential course in the Scottish Highlands for writing the wild. What happens when you picture yourself in the heart of wilderness and your surroundings turn out to be fenced-off moor, banks of forestry and the mountains you long for, sit firmly on the horizon? The journey to connect with nature and the wild self, inevitably encounters frustration, disappointment and grief for our treatment of the earth, as well as experiencing its beauty. But if you accept what is, if you listen and watch – the wild reveals itself and our animal self responds through our imagination.

‘Clyne’s poems are as earthy, rich, feral as the landscapes she writes about. Woven through all of them is the theme of digging to the bedrock, the bones – of human, of land. Her concerns are territory, boundaries, fences – and how we might slip through the wires. At times, as in the final poem, she achieves a near-shapeshift before our eyes.’
                                                     Roselle Angwin 

 Rachael’s new collection was the winner of this year’s Geoff Stevens Memorial                                  Prize and published by Indigo Dreams

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Marking Territories

It’s the usual room-shuffle
claiming our spot
proximity to loo
preferred mug.

Outside, brash wind
monochrome mountains
tussocks of grass, gorse.

But we are all fenced-in
wired to worked out ways
territory divided: rooms, heath.

Mine is the outcrop near the bone tree
three gates, two fields, four fences away
Our task: to slip through the wires.



Curlew warble in bleached sedge.
     a grey harrier
      flickers and glides.

Dusk hares: liminal dancers.
A pregnant moon
her bulging side
ready to birth.

Bone grass quivers under her gaze
The path to the sheilings
shines clear at last
silent humps

of thick heather, bog moss. The wind
having prised its answer from me
has ceased

I have done my volta, am blasted open.
The night hums with moon-magic
and the
old ones

Pictish clans who worked the moors
shift underfoot as we pass,
sense our

This morning, torpid cloud-hang;
the mountains have done
their usual
vanishing act.



A nameless mountain
fractured, ravaged, felled
she keeps faith, limping along
with her tattered, scattered miracles
of grace, birdsong, wordsong.

Her list of kin is long, but she
utters each and every name
sharp as swift’s trill
mellow as curlew
soft as sedge.

Her knowledge cries through the dark
like whinny and drum of snipe
traces withfeathered fingers
licks moth-soft at our hearing.



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