Be Mindful of Mud – Rachael Clyne

Be Mindful of Mud

Step warily my dear,
on slippery earth-paths
that thread uphill
past ivied trunks
away from a world
of dull-crack gunshot
and quadbike roar.
Lift your head instead
to light that catches
silver on hazel bark.

If, my dear,
you find yourself
wire-barred –
backtrack down,
bottom-slide, clutch
each handhold branch
offered by
soft-eyed strangers.

Learn, my friend,
to avoid the glisten
of sticky opinion.
If its mire sucks you in,
wave your wing tips
and let the pull of air-tides
uplift you all the way
to the hillfort crown.

Rest there, my love,
on an old horse-trough.
Gaze at dainty deer track
by your feet, scrutinise
badger sgraffito.
Listen to rook chatter
and feel your body fizz.
Now you are human-imal,
mudful of mind.

Rachael Clyne’s collection, Singing at the Bone Tree (Indigo Dreams), concerns our relationship with nature. Her pamphlet, Girl Golem ( explores her migrant heritage and sense of otherness. She is currently expanding this work into a collection.

The Wait – Rachael Clyne

The Wait

The image of a bleach bottle
at her lips, lingers in the room.
Its walls echo with car-crash sounds.
I feel the draw of a noose, her urge to jump.

Each week, she pleads to stay.
With fixed eyes, she forces me
to deny her, make her leave.
I cling to my professional chair.

She’s already had her week’s ration,
so pills are off the menu. I wonder
if she’ll be here next week, she asks
for a method that is certain. I am silent.

The crisis team can’t do home visits,
they too are in a critical state.
An overdose merits a day in A&E
then a cab, or a twenty-mile walk home.

Her GP has become a placebo
‘somehow they muddle through’,
he says. I know he cares, but like me,
must wait for her storm to break.


Rachael Clyne is widely published in journals. Her recent pamphlet, Girl Golem (4Word is about her migrant origins and sense of otherness. She is involved in climate activism and hopes the lockdown has changed our ways.