Savour words and feel­ings

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS - Dr Ali Black is a se­nior lec­turer in Education at the Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast. SCHOOL OF THOUGHT DR ALI BLACK

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)

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