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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!


         Kikimora

         spat out her good advice

Cloud to Cloud

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

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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,


freely it runs

its long unceremonious


caress

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)

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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 new collection ‘Will You

Walk a Little Faster?’ published to celebrate

her 70th birthday on 12 May 2017.

Penelope Shuttle has made her home in Cornwall

since 1970 and the county’s mercurial weather and

rich history are continuing sources of inspiration.

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