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In the Air

Published in ‘Heath’  (Nine Arches Press, 2016)

How will you fare

up there in the air


in the in-flight movie

of your life?

How will you fare



by your everyday pilot?

And when turbulence

rolls in

like a rolling pin


in a fist no angel clenched

to biff and bash

the plane

how will you fare?

Best not pluck

the thunder flower

as you spin

in the wheel of fortune

faring up there

in the air



and free-fall

of the heart

Visit Nine Arches Press website

Visit John Greening website



By Penelope Shuttle and John Greening. Published by Nine Arches Press, 2016

Heathrow Airport landed, in the early 1940s, as if from outer space, on the ancient common land of

Hounslow Heath. In ‘Heath’ John Greening and Penelope Shuttle transcribe and review the conflicts

of modern life, of finding an equilibrium between the excitements of travel and the benefits of trade,

and the continuing desecration of the natural landscape. In addition there is a personal connection, as

both poets were born and raised within sight and sound of Heathrow Airport. As discussion continues

about the third runway, two poets move between Heathrow's past, present and future, as they cross

and re-cross the ‘Heath’.

‘Heath’ was launched at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2016 with a special reading by Penelope

and John Greening . To see the recording of this reading please click here.

Few things worse

than being taken ill on Hounslow Heath


as the runaway Bishop learned

and many a humbler soul

so keep the straight and narrow


don’t stray from Hounslow’s long unlovely street

respect its Grove Road School ethos

(though few of the pupils

know their alphabet)

don’t footpad

the shadowy ways by the Crane

or ride the dark

of wildtrack and brake

where a bullet can find you -

heart or brain

anywhere anywhen -

between  Hounslow and Heston

Our town’s one dull street

won’t get you took ill

with the plaguey gunshot

fatal and fast - why run the risk?

The nuns who worked the Syon Cope

have all gone home to Lisbon -

that’s a safe distance from the Heath!

If Bishop Twysden

of Raphoe

had kept such faith

he’d be living in his Donegal living

to this day


Pedestrian Advice

Published in ‘Heath’  (Nine Arches Press, 2016)

Visit Nine Arches Press website

Visit John Greening website

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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
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