FALL 2009

Penelope Shuttle

For Geraldine and Geoff Green, and the Dog Roy


Here’s a man with five dogs,
three black, two white,
flowing over the fell before him –
in the lee of the wind
he makes his way
up the bright valley
to rain-dark Red Pike

The pines let the northerly rake them,
they roar like water over a weir,
pines loud with the sullen and beautiful wind
before which they bend but do not break –
the wind of the north their servant,
their roaring a thousand tall ships under full sail

How sternly they bend their snow-flecked brows
over the stone circle bedded in marshy turf,
Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Causey and Blencathra,
bending their brows in deep and constant thought

over the circle of stones set fast in rain-logged earth,
bright rainy air threading through their ring,
making a February promise – Spring, old
like these stones and ranges, is on the way,

brand-new Spring, snow-burdened, bright as belief,
dark as the shadows that sharpen their scythes on these stones.

Penelope Shuttle's eight collection, REDGROVE'S WIFE, (Bloodaxe Books, 2006) was shortlisted for The Forward Prize,and for the T S Eliot Award. She lives in Cornwall, UK, and is the widow of poet Peter Redgrove. She is a Hawthornden Fellow, and tutors for The Poetry School, The Arvon Foundation etc. In October 2007 she read in Canada and the US as part of the Cornwall Poets in North America tour. This April she is running a five day poetry residential at Almaserra Vella in Spain.



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