Happy Poetry Friday, all! I recently stumbled upon a treasure — The Lost Words written by Robert Macfarlane and stunningly illustrated by Jackie Morris. Somehow I missed when our Poetry Friday friend Alan J. Wright shared his thoughts about this book here on Poetry Friday back in October, however thought I would share my perspective as a Kindergarten teacher who infuses the study of nature and poetry into every school day. I think it’s worth sharing again, and frankly I’m surprised I haven’t seen/heard/read more about this book filled with words and creatures that are slipping away from this fragile earth.
First off, the book is GINORMOUS! (Don’t you love that word?) I placed it next to my copy of A Wrinkle in Time, which I’m currently re-reading, to show you just how big it is. The size of the book alone will hook my 5- and 6-year old poetic naturalists. And the fact that it says it is “A Spell Book” seals the deal. These “spells” take the form, as Alan previously pointed out, of anagrams. They are subtle and, yes, spellbinding.
Each poem is preceded by a gorgeous spread of a mystery. Clues sprinkled here and there. The name of each upcoming subject is hidden — well the letters are — providing a clue for readers of what’s to come. Can you see “bluebell” hidden amongst the trunks of this stand of trees?
Morris’ artwork is detailed and elegant.
Macfarlane’s poetry is so gorgeous that I often forgot I was reading a series of anagrams, which in my experience are often humorous and playful. These are written by not only an accomplished poet, but a true naturalist. They are filled with fabulous language and information. What a wonderful addition to my collection to help foster an appreciation of nature, an understanding of the importance of conservation, and a love of poetry.
And on that note…
Picking up our host Elizabeth Steinglass’ challenge today, here is a first pass at my “Why I’m Here” poem as it relates to my work as a Kindergarten teacher and lover of all living things. It feels like a manifesto of sorts that I’ll let simmer on the back burner a while and take up again. At least it’s a start.
Why I’m Here
I’m here to help you see
the wonder of it all
what once was
what will be no more
if we don’t take care
I’m here to help you find
places you’ve never been
living things hiding in plain sight
life not just on a screen or the page of a book
but right outside your door
— Christie Wyman, 2018
Elizabeth Steinglass is hosting this week’s poetry celebration. Won’t you join us there?