A to Z Challenge | W

The Words

“Williwaw: A williwaw is a sudden violent gust of cold land air, common along mountainous coastal regions of high latitude. The origin of the word is unknown but it is believed to have been a sailing term coined by British maritime men and used initially to describe the inclement and unpredictable winds around the hazardous Magellan Straits in South America.”

“Writhled: A rarely used adjective but one not without its charms. Writhled is synonymous with other words like wrinkled and shrivelled but is perhaps closest to wizened as it relates mostly to ageing, lived-in, faces. His writhled face broke into a smile as he recalled his Navy days.”

“Widdershins: Legend holds that demons always approached the devil widdershins. Not surprisingly, such a path was considered evil and unlucky. By the sixteenth century, English speakers had adopted the term (from the Old High German widar, meaning back or against, and sinnen, meaning to travel) for anything following a path opposite to the direction the sun travels across the sky. Don’t be dancing widdershins around me; it’s the mark of the devil.”

(from “1000 Words to Expand Your Vocabulary” by Joseph Piercy)

Demon

The white cliff face
Writhled
With lapping lines of ancient age
Legend told
Of sea demons and scornful sorceresses
That lived within the cracks.
It takes only a williwaw to wake them
Or walking widdershins
in waxing moons
drawing symbols in the dusk.

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