Home | Penelope Shuttle

When I couldn’t

bear another day,

I cloud-watched

for dear life –

no two skies alike

Those skies

made plain to me

where my thoughts began

and where they ended

I saw the witch Kikimora

and her white Cat

scudding from cloud to cloud

         Stop weeping

         on the world’s shoulder!


         spat out her good advice

Cloud to Cloud

Published in ‘Unsent: New and Selected Poems 1980–2012’ (Bloodaxe Books, 2012)

Visit Bloodaxe Books website


At Mylor

the water of the well

bears the armour of the light,

it hides and escapes

and stays still

under its hood of rock

amid a galore of graves

and green leaves,

spring of fresh water

beside the sea,

a find, a treasure,

a pedigree,

no idyll

but the essential source,

now retired

from its work of sole sustenance,

living among memories

of former fame,

a saint’s hand dipping in

like a taper unquenched,

coins splashing down

for reverence, not luck,

from time to time,

a self-baptism,

secret and quick,

for some

prefer their ritual

out of doors,

water understands this,

and loves the brow

fanned with its body

for reasons the water easily guesses,

for it is the one who blesses,


freely it runs

its long unceremonious


through my fingers,

and on my lips

tastes ferriferous,

blood-hint at the periphery,

pell-mell mint at the heart.

The Well at Mylor

Published in ‘Unsent: New and Selected Poems 1980-2012’ (Bloodaxe Books, 2012)

Visit Bloodaxe Books website


Unsent: New and Selected Poems 1980-2012

By Penelope Shuttle. Published by Bloodaxe Books, 2012

‘Unsent: New & Selected Poems 1980–2012’, is drawn from ten collections published over three decades

plus a new collection. The new poems of Unsent are communications to and with her husband Peter

Redgrove, remembering their shared past with love, wit, paradox, exasperation and a lightness of heart

towards ageing and sorrow. With these poems Shuttle concludes her triptych of mourning for Redgrove,

and ceases ‘to weep on the world’s shoulder’.

If a poet’s work is her personal experience of the universe then this book takes us deep into that Shuttle-

verse. In earlier collections her concerns are with language as a safety net from life’s difficulties and a

guide through widening regions of love and motherhood. Her themes range widely: personal life, that

part of our 'secret working mind’ which we call dreams, the landscape of Cornwall, myth and fairytale.

And she has a passionate awareness of the many ways – sacred and profane, comic, sensuous, and

joyful – in which we sustain ourselves through poetry, combining a provocative intelligence with

uninhibited emotional power.

Penelope Shuttle's Published Works (2017-1978) | Penelope Shuttle
Home | Penelope Shuttle
About Penelope | Penelope Shuttle
Poems | Penelope Shuttle
Book Reviews - Page 1 | Penelope Shuttle
Gallery | Penelope Shuttle
About Penelope | Penelope Shuttle

Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival

Will be held in Falmouth, from Thursday 22

to Sunday 25 November 2018

Penelope Shuttle has made her home in Cornwall

since 1970 and the county’s mercurial weather and

rich history are continuing sources of inspiration.

About Penelope | Penelope Shuttle
Will You Walk a Little Faster? | Penelope Shuttle

Copyright © 2018 Penelope Shuttle     |     Terms of Use     |     Privacy Policy     |     Site Map     |     Site Update 06.10.18

#contact Twitter Facebook Youtube Instagram