Savour words and feelings
A FRIEND sent me a link to a beautiful song this week: The Lost Words Blessing.
A most beautiful piece inspired by Scottish Gaelic blessings, this song responds to the wonderful children’s picture book The Lost Words: A Spell Book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.
The song and the story are in response to actions by the editors of the Oxford Junior Dictionary who identified a list of words they deemed of little use to the modern child and removed them from the dictionary.
Many of these removed words described the natural world – such as fern, moss, dandelion, heron, pelican and wren.
These were removed to make room for newer words deemed to be of greater relevance – such as chatroom, blog and voicemail.
We need reminders like this book and its accompanying album.
They are expressions of hope and beauty and of grief for loss and losses yet to come.
They ask us to consider the words we keep and remove and deem relevant to children and community.
They call us to engage with care, to look and speak and stay awake to what is going on around us – to what is vanishing, being removed and replaced.
As teachers, parents and citizens we hold histories and futures in our hands. COVID-19, climate change, recession, inequality are opportunities to re-examine our structures, our priorities and our guiding values.
Connection, kindness, wisdom and care matter more than ever. May they never become lost words.
Walk through the world with care, my love
And sing the things you see Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you stumble through machair sands eroding
Let the fern unfurl your grieving, let the heron still your breathing
Let the selkie swim you deeper, oh my little silver-seeker
Even as the hour grows bleaker, be the singer and the speaker
And in city and in forest, let the larks become your chorus
And when every hope is gone, let the raven call you home.
(Final verse, The Lost Words Blessing)