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The Stove

Penelope  Shuttle


The Stove

First thing in the morning
I go out to look at the mountain,
come back in,

sweep up last night’s ash
from the hearth,
sit at the table,

write to you again –
I’ve tried hard
to believe in your afterlife as ocean,

imagined you
travelling the globe as salt water,
but who am I kidding?

Ash is ash
no matter where it’s thrown –
I’m only flesh and blood.

Here on my own
by the black stove
whose appetite can be tempted

only by almond boughs
or the wind chopped
branches of the little grey olive trees,

I think for the umpteenth time
how you’ve never seen the mountain
in its blue or sable wrap of air....

...and every morning
round about now,
grief pads in,

electrodes at the ready,
or will it be those splinters of bamboo
under my fingernails this time?

He likes that one....



This poem is from Penelope Shuttle's 2010 collection, her tenth, 'Sandgrain and Hourglass reviewed by Ben Wilkinson in the Guardian :http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jan/22/sandgrain-hourglass-penelope-shuttle-poetry-review


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