W is a strangely moving letter. We form it by drawing our lips together
for an O but then suddenly slackening the muscles: weary. Even the
'h' cannot invigorate it: it sounds exactly as it did before, as in the
negligent 'whatever', or entirely falls back to leave the 'h' alone, as
This wistful quality of the 'W' can be seen even in relatively simple words
such as woe, whittle, willful, wirra, wisp, wanting, wince, wouldn't,
wingless, wayward, whiffle, wellaway, widdershins, wellies and the reoccurring
why? that confronts exposed lies.
Creatures that exist under the sway of W are similarly homely: worms,
wildebeests, water buffalo, wombats, and walruses, or utterly
slight: the cream-crowned widgeon, whippoorwill, woodcock, whooping crane,
widow-bird, whorelet, whimper and warren.
It is also the home of my older brother, Wystan, otherwise known as Jonathan,
better known as myself.
There is no W in the Swedish alphabet.
I ask my mother, Why?
She shrugs then says, What? Why? Who? When? What's the point?
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