Thursday, October 14, 2021

Poetry on Thursday

Jane mentioned that she had read The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris a while ago, and I put it on my list. I didn't know what a treat I was in for when I started to look for the book. 

Back in 2007, more than 40 words were removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Words like acorn, bluebell, bramble, dandelion, heather, kingfisher, magpie, newt, otter, weasel, and willow. What happens when we lose the names for ferns, herons, and wrens? Do we lose the ability to notice them? Do we lose the ability to care about them? Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to create a gorgeously illustrated book that conjures these lost words and and species back into our everyday lives.

The book was published in 2017 and is often marketed as a children's book, but I think it's for everyone. It's large, 11 x 15, and presumably beautifully illustrated. I haven't seen the actual book yet as none of my libraries have a copy, but I was able to find it on Overdrive as an audiobook. I was initially disappointed, but hearing the poems read by the author and others, interspersed with bird song, rain sounds, and the music of the natural world in the background was its own lovely experience. I searched all over for a video of Mr. Macfarlane reading Acorn and couldn't find anything, so I'm sharing the poem here. 


As flake is to blizzard, as

Curve is to sphere, as knot is to net, as

One is to many, as coin is to money, as
  bird is to flock, as

Rock is to mountain, as drop is to fountain, as
  spring is to river, as glint is to glitter, as

Near is to far, as wind is to weather, as
  feather is to flight, as light is to star, as
  kindness is to good, so acorn is to wood.

I hope you can find a copy of The Lost Words to look through or from Overdrive to listen to, and help return some of these words to our lives. 


  1. Here's hoping you find a physical copy of the book. I bet it is lovely. I am mystified why these common words would be removed!

  2. I have heard about this book from several sources, and now that I've read this one poem, I'd really like to read more! It's such an interesting concept -- strange to think that people would decide that kids don't need to know those words!

  3. Thank you for bringing this to my attention again! I have requested a hard copy from my library! :)

  4. Oh, that's beautiful, Bonny! Thanks for sharing. :-) And I'm definitely going to look for this beautiful book in hard copy.

  5. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem! I am going to look for this book, I'd like to have the hard copy. I read Underland: A Deep Time Journey by the same author and I loved it!

    1. Robert Macfarlane has written quite a bit about nature, and he and Jackie Morris also have another book entitled The Lost Spells. It looks like it might be just as beautiful as The Lost Words!

  6. That's just lovely. I put the book on hold from my library system.

  7. I, of course, love the book. The illustrations and the way the poems and illustrations work together is gorgeous. I love the illustrated pages with negative space that introduce the title of the poem. Thanks for the shout-out. I hope your library acquires a copy soon.

  8. so beautiful, I'll look for it at my local library.

  9. What a treat, Bonny, thank you! I have the book on hold and hopefully it won't be too long a wait.


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