St Clether



The Well


Sheep-warm day,

pilgrim rain rolling up the valley,


half-listening to the quiet river


skimming the long mist-smitten fold

of the Inny Vale,


half-hearing the chiff-chaff’s

two brave words, speaking the season –


no bigger, no better than a byre,

the well holding its peace for a thousand years.





A constant thread of water

runs behind the bedrock altar

and over the buried bones of the saint

making it into healing water…


Will you drink?

However grave your woe? 



Dragon Hill


Green dragon,

head down on his forepaws,


grass-green eyelids

closed over fern-green eyes,


his spine stretching

for mile after green mile –


he’s the green treasure

he guards,


green word

at the tip of his own fork tongue.





The Inney river

is anyone’s muse,

yours or mine,

the reeds

or the clouds,

endlessly amused

by her safe-

and-sound powers,

by this handful

of water

I scoop up

then give back to her.



St Clether’s Summer


Full-term summer

of moist west-wind days

good for baking a Lammas loaf.


Many green shades

in one green valley.


Green of the Libyan flag.


Forty greens

in the falcon’s wing.


The sun puts in a guest appearance,

celebrity too famous to hang around long.


The wild bees too busy

to care about him anyhow.



Sunlight Chapel                                          


A rod of sunlight

laid on the rough-hewn

granite altar


two chunky candles

and their bee-quick flames

in a chapel


as a wetroom.


the big summer breeze

strives up and down

the vale,

weaves a green cloth

called August,

hammers a breastplate

out of sunlight

to dazzle us all .


oooooooooooooFor Victoria Field

Valency Valley


This valley path is where

oooooold rain

0000000000has worked the earth

where smooth flat slabs

oooooof stone

0000000000lie in long pans of light

where a kiss

00000at the kissing gate

0000000000goes on forever

I love our quick dawdle

0000000000through the valley

000000000000000the hot rapt lull of august

our talk of tree tactics

0000000000branch science

000000000000000and leaf lore

Noon in the woods

00000green gulches and gullies

oooooooooooa green forbearance –

our kiss at the kissing gate


ooooooooooointo summer forever


Penelope Shuttle has lived in Cornwall since 1970, and is a founder member of The Falmouth Poetry Group, set up by Peter Redgrove in 1972. She is a tutor and mentor for a number of organisations, including The Poetry School, and is reading this summer/autumn from Heath, with John Greening, at The Ledbury Poetry Festival, The South Downs Festival, South Downs Festival, The Bristol Poetry Festival, The Language Club in Plymouth, Penzance Stanza Reading (with Caroline Carver and Katrina Naomi), the Exeter Poetry Festival, and at Waterstones, Truro (with Caroline Carver).

Heath appeared from Nine Arches Press in July. A pamphlet, Four Portions Of Everything On The Menu For M’sieur Monet, appears from Indigo Dreams Publications in August 2016. Her twelfth collection, Will You Walk A Little Faster? is published in May 2017, from Bloodaxe Books.