The Way to Zed: a psychic pilgrimage in twenty-six parts

In 2018 I undertook a fool's journey through the letters of the alphabet, writing a poem a day (more or less) for each of the 26 letters known to English speakers today. The poems were influenced by the shapes and sounds of the letters, and by the ancient symbols - the hieroglyphs and pictograms - which were their ancestors.

The sequence of poems quickly began to take on the form of a surreal quest narrative, with the mysterious letter zed at its end.

After some crossing some hurdles I finally made it to the izzard on the July 1st 2018. I am now (as of February 2019) working on a Tarot deck inspired by the poems with the artist Abigail Jones.

The rest of the sequence is now taken down for editing (and publisher-seeking), but the current (February 2019) drafts of 'A' 'B' and 'C' appear below. The ancestral symbols which are relevant here include: for A, a bull's head (I would also refer readers to Malcolm McNeill's article 'A is for Girl'); for B, a building and (in runes) a birch tree; and for C, a throwing stick.


A


A crack in the cave wall – an aperture to
a view with a horizon.

A capped pyramid.
A mountain.
A man made of clay.
A scaffold,
a plough, an ox’s head.
A ram.
A road.

Anything: a five-pointed star.
Anything: a dance in the heavens.
Anything: Aphrodite.
Anything: an acorn.
Almost all girls’ names.

Also,
an apple
and you should
always take
an apple with you
at the beginning of
adventures, especially
a long journey or,
anyway, a journey into
the unknown.


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B
Beyond the bull's head, you reach an ancient building. A ruined house.
Before the house, on burnt ground, stands a birch.

Beneath its branches: butterflies.
Between its boughs: birds.
Behind its bark: beetles.
Below, bright against the blackened soil, beds of borage and buddleia bushes burgeon.
Bumblebees bother its buds as it bends in the breeze.

You brought a box of questions for the tree,
but it will give but one word back. Just,

'be'.


-----


C

Of course, we cannot simply be, eternally.
The clock ticks.
Crickets chirp, crows caw.
Your presence in this place is no accident.
You came here for a certain purpose.
The celestial ceiling clouds over, then clears again
to uncover a crescent moon, so crisp
you can see the curves of the craters.
The carbonated soil is changed again in the twice-cast light.

What can you discern?
Throughout the charred ground, countless artifacts once concealed
catch the beams.
You crouch to explore, and discover…
crab's claws. Continue.
Champagne corks. Carry on…
copper coins…
cease!

Curling into your fingers as if crafted for no other function,
is a… a… what is it?
A cane? A cudgel? A club?

You come to your feet again, clutching it,
savour its heft in your hand.
Could it, in fact, be the object of your search,
so recently commenced? (Come off it).
It calls you to action. You
succumb to its tacit command,
and

chuck it clean over the cottage.

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If you are a prospective publisher and would like to know more, please do get in touch at dotdashdash.dashdash@gmail.com

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