The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 9 no. 1


Penelope Shuttle



All is made by the design of my hand.
What I weave is where and how he travels.
He sails on glittering tides I weave.
This skein is his hero’s skin.

It is I who weave the web of spears.

Legend diminished me to wife
of the house, subject to suitors
and son: but my husband’s life
hung from the thread coaxing through my fingers.

I spun his yarns, wove him by day,
unwove him by night, safe from harm.
I told them it was my father’s shroud.
Women still see themselves in mirrors of my name.

I bend over my loom
and throw my shuttle, weaving
the world, its weathers,
its wise and unwise ways,

weaving your names, casting my
namesakes back into the web that flows
so fast from my raveling hands.
Over my face they pinned a veil of lies.

But all was made by the design of my hand.