25 MARCH 2006, Page 38

Sleeping with the Alphabet

You glorious twenty-six, not equal In purport, short straws of words, Come with me to the night-time squall, My hurricane of verbs.

My chiefest pegs to hang fear on — Don’t think it’s only sights Which dreams call up — Wordsong Lingers in the tucks and sweats.

Sounds of pre-performance, cries Subsumed in nothingness, Hoping to syllabicise Themselves as messages.

The A of Anger, E of Death, And I who might not be myself And O the deadly wind that bloweth Unto U, my vowel of Truth.

Peter Porter