When I arrived 
I didn’t know 
the word 
for what I was.

I kept arriving.
Butting my head
against the shore.
A head with no word.

And one day 
I heard. And it heard 
that what I was 
was wind. The one 

w*nd, I was 
the rumour of my own being.
A groundless rumour  
in residence.


Sure I said. Sure.
Though I wasn’t
and have never 
been. Shore I said.

Repeating their word
for where I had brought
them. But no shore
was ever a harbour

for me. Never home
entirely. Where are
all four directions 
home? Or when?

Sure. I said sure.
Repeating their word
for this coastal state
where I’m never entirely.


W, w, w … 
Between the wires
weather from elsewhere
becomes ours. 

Another aloneness 
checks in with us, checks us 
where stops meet starts.
Entering like my old stutter.

Perhaps the beginning 
was the ultimate abbreviation
or silver cord. Aeolus,
a god with all

vowels but one, 
knotted the winds in an ox skin. 
All the swirling directions a word 
could go, but home. West, west.


Wis, wis. In the beginning 
w, w, w … It’s the was
not the Word I stutter at, before I
arrive, in w and s

at the aleph, or alif
that blows me into being.
To the in of the in. The black 
of the star, reversed to when all that

was began, before solar w*nd, 
intergalactic w*nd,
a first breath from beyond 
my bond, my vowel. 

A wavering oneness
or wand. One’s shyest
earliest wound 
Zaffar Kunial

Copyright © Zaffar Kunial, 2018. All rights reserved.

Zaffar Kunial

Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in Hebden Bridge. His pamphlet Faber New Poets 11 was published in 2014. An essay ‘Laburnum Time’ was collected in the anthology of woodland writing, Arboreal (Little Toller, 2016). His first full poetry collection is due with Faber & Faber in 2018.

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About W*nd

This poem was written as part of 'The Blue Crevasse' project, which marks the centenary of W.S. Graham in 2018. The image of a blue crevasse famously appears in W.S. Graham’s poem ‘Malcolm Mooney’s Land’, and the author’s estate welcomed the idea of creating a similar metaphorical space where admirers of the poet might, in a sense, be lowered for a month’s solitary ‘residency’.