It is both sad and a relief to fold so carefully
her outgrown clothes and line up the little worn shoes
of childhood, so prudent, scuffed and particular.
It is both happy and horrible to send them galloping
back tappity-tap along the misty chill path into the past.
It is both a freedom and a prison, to be outgrown
by her as she towers over me as thin as a sequin
in her doc martens and her pretty skirt,
because just as I work out how to be a mother
she stops being a child.
Reproduced with kind permission of the author
from Unsent: New & Selected Poems, 1980-2012 (Bloodaxe Books, 2012)
and 100 Prized Poems: Twenty-five Years of the Forward Books (Faber & Faber, 2016)
Penelope ShuttlePenelope Shuttle (b. 1947) has made her home in Cornwall since 1970 and the county’s mercurial weather and rich history are continuing sources of inspiration. So too is the personal and artistic union Shuttle shared with her husband, the poet Peter Redgrove, until his untimely death in 2003. The fruitful nature of their relationship is celebrated in her poetry and in the work they accomplished together.
Portrait by Edward Lucie-Smith (1970)