'Oil Waves' is the writing blog of Wes Viola, a pen name of Wes White.
A Glastonian now living and working in London, Wes is an Elder Bard of Ynys Witrin (Glastonbury), having won the title in 2015.
He is an alumnus of Goldsmiths' Creative & Life Writing MA and was the 2013 poetry winner at Wells Literary Festival.
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 have disappeared.
You draw them back, and they reappear.
Put them back on the stile and they’re
Your hand feels normal the whole time…
Tentatively, you try putting your entire
beyond the fence – sure enough, it
your arm finishing sharply in mid-air
and there’s a movement in the field
ahead – the hare?
But you’re barely conscious of that,
-ably your focus is on your hand (or lack of hand).
Weird as this looks, it feels fine… so you go for it,
drawing your elbow back to punch the air ahead…
…and in that same spot in the field, you
see it –
your arm - punch out of the ground
in a straight vertical line.
You lean forward to investigate – and as
you do –
your eyes cross the boundary
and I’m looking back at you, from in the
I’m looking back at you, crossing the
This is weird - and I can see you
but I have to do this now.
I have to see what’s out here.
I put my hand down on the soil, and
bring the other one through with it.
Putting them both down flat, I push myself up
from out of the earth,
and watch you disappear. I keep going
until the whole body is mine.
April is #napowrimo ('National' poetry writing month), an annual challenge to write a poem a day, and post each one to your blog. The dedicated website also offers optional daily prompts. I've been thinking for some time of writing a series focussed on the 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet, and April having 30 days seems to fit quite well with doing this (and leaving myself room to skip some days, as I will inevitably end up doing. In fact if I only skip four I'll be doing far better than I normally do at these things, but I fancy my chances of getting to 'B', at least). In relation to this first step on the journey, I also recommend reading Malcolm McNeill's article 'A' is for Girl. Aside from those associations, this gate where we begin is guarded by a bull. 'A' is thought to be derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph of an ox's head. So - grabbing the bull by the horns: ------------ A A crack in the cave wall – an aperture to
a view …
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. ------------ H
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. Hmm…
Day 8 of #NaPoWriMo and I'm only on the 6th letter of the alphabet. Maybe I'll try to do more than one a day for a couple of days to catch up. You can read the first poems in the series here: ABCDE
'F' is descended from the Semitic letter 'waw' (the letter's 'f' and 'w' are surprisingly closely related - to find out why, make a 'w' sound and draw your bottom lip back towards your top teeth so it becomes a 'v' - and keep going...) - its hieroglyphic ancestor probably stood for a club or a mace. ------------ F
The frequency fades
and you follow his frantic gaze floorwards, where, freakishly, you find ’e’s
sinking in to the ground! First his feet, followed fast
by his fit legs, and the rest of his frame….
his femurs, fibula, fat gut, false teeth - all the way - to that furrowed forehead
and the follicles of his fine coiffure. Even then his arms remain aloft. In five seconds flat, he’s in up to his
funny bones, and only now that he’s nothin…