Now you see it / now you don’t. As if energised by the rain, the ground shifts in numerous places
simultaneously: now in front, now behind. Now beneath the pond, now around the bank, now beyond. Now under my knuckles. Now under my knees.
Too close for comfort. I start back, away from it. Then I can take it all in - its undulating movements animating the foundation. The ground churning. Now and then (or now and now – and now! And now! And now!) its skin can be seen, glinting silver. And it’s enormous: a monster. I’m reminded suddenly, incongruously, of the encyclopaedias I’d kneel and learn of heraldry in: a serpent, argent. A snake, rampant. An adder, courant. In the reflection of the heavens, the clouds have gained negative height,
turned to inverse nimbus. Around it, the Nāga turns and turns up and down, in and out between the liminals of the elements… nimble as lightning through the muck! Until, eventually, I notice it’s forming into an unbroken ring.

For #NaPoWriMo2018 I set myself the task …


From a mile away, it might be mud. Move closer, it becomes a mirror. The basin almost empty, its ‘lake’ more of a mere. From there, my face looks back at me. In the same way, I remember myself marking you; and your merging with the air at the moment I emerged from the meadow.
Beyond my head, the murmuration of cumuli meanders in misty sympathy with my own motion. I am here for a reason. I shake the stick, and at the same time, circles grow from pinpricks in the water. At the same time,
I feel them, coolly blessing my cranium. At the same time, something makes a movement in the murk; animating the mire.
What’s there?
Under air, water. Under water, earth. Under earth,

I am writing a poem for each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet for #NaPoWriMo2018. The poems are a sequence and you can read the first dozen as follows:


The letter 'M' is derived from an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph denoting water.


It’s lovely. A leather handle at the heal, a long hazel shank, and glinting silver ferrule completed at my shoulder with a curl of golden antler. I’ll walk a long while with this cleek.
Meanwhile, looking along the landscape, I feel something is lacking: If this is my crook, what will my livestock be?
(Elephants? Cattle? Llamas? Leopards? Lemurs? Leverets? Lemmings?) The fields are empty – full of nothing likely.
Initially directionless, I still feel a silent calling,
and I let my legs yield to it. There’s a flicker in the sky as I go, small clouds blocking and unblocking the solar glare
– their shadows follow my shadow through fields splendid with purple flowers; lilac and lavender, tulip and lily, violet and viola.
It’s getting late by the time I realise at last, until I hold the staff aloft and swirl the sky with it, the little fluffy clouds fleeing left and right, orbiting the invisible line. They’ll be my flock.
I close my eyes (that kaleidoscope again) and level the walking stick with the lie o…


If you think you could be dreaming you can try a handcheck: look at your hand’s open palm and flick back and forth between that and the back.
You’ll know if you’re awake. Your knuckles will just be your knuckles, your little finger just a pinky. If not, there are all kinds of freaky possibilities – your fingers could be tied in knots, or covered in dark lipstick kiss marks, or made of lank kale…
I check. It looks like normal… I think. Only, when did I get ink? What’s normal? I blink… and in that quick movement there's a sparkling kaleidoscope of black and shocking pink. I don’t know I’m awake, but something’s out of kilter, and I reckon if I take a breath, I can make things happen here. I close my eyes again. Take my time. Hold my palm out flat. What will I make? A knife? A key? With a whack, it lands from the sky. I sneak a look: a shepherd’s crook.

I'm writing a poem for each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet for #NaPoWriMo2018. The letter 'K' is derived from an Egy…


I grew a tail. J’ai fait pousser une queue.


I am writing a poem for each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet, for #NaPoWriMo2018. The poems are a sequence and you can read each of the preceding letters on these links:


'J' is a junior member of our alphabet, having been until a few hundred years ago the same letter as 'I'. Its distinction from its manxome* progenitor is attributable to an individual, Gian Giorgio Trissino (a man with 5 letter 'i's and 3 'j' sounds in his name, but no 'j's), as in this article - it was over a hundred years later, after the publication of the King James bible, that the letters became distinct in English. Until then 'J' or 'j' were just different ways of writing 'I' or 'i'.

Thanks to Dylann Knight for helping me not screw up the line in French here, especially since that's half the poem.

*I wrote this on the assumption that it was generally …


I'm writing a poem for every letter of the alphabet this #NaPoWriMo, and I've reached the letter 'I'.
You can read the poems for the first eight letters here: ABCDEFGH
'I' is conjectured to have been derived from a Phoenician symbol for an arm. This reminds me of a mysterious line from Twin Peaks - "I am the arm". The letter was also the Roman numeral for '1' and closely resembles the equivalent arabic numeral.
When I began writing this this morning, strange inversions occurred such as the trackpad on my laptop suddenly scrolling up and down in the opposite direction to normal - and the 'I' of the title turned red when I replaced yesterday's 'H' with it. I've decided to keep the red.


Leaving the old house and its charred garden behind, you decide - what else? To follow the hare over the stile.
However, you have to hesitate when holding on to the topmost bar, you can’t help but notice: the front of your fingers ha…


I am writing a poem for every letter of the English (or, if you prefer, international standard Latin) alphabet, this NaPoWriMo.

You can find the poems so far under the following links: ABCDEFG
On Monday I stumbled across this beautiful diagram of the letters' histories by UsefulCharts  - have a look.

'H' is derived from a symbol for a fence! Now I think it's a stile.
Here is a hare. He hears your heart.
“Hello”, puts forth the fair-haired hare, “have to rush… horribly behind
for a hugely himportant happointment”.

(That’s how you think you heard it in your human head. What he said
was holy - hard to echo here).
“…have to rush… Heavens! Hades!”

he hops, hurriedly,
under a hurdle in the hawthorn hedgerow.