Lost Words and Why I’m Here #PoetryFriday


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


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?

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31 thoughts on “Lost Words and Why I’m Here #PoetryFriday

  1. What a gorgeous treasure! I so ENJOY the glimpses you give us into your classroom. Favorite thought from your “manifesto poem”: “life not just on a screen or the page of a book.” I fear too much of our lives in these days is “just on a screen.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Alice. I so agree with your fears. Too often students are encouraged to Google something and then it goes no further. Terribly sad. I am blessed to work in a community rich with natural resources right outside our classroom door. Needless to say I take full advantage of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I love it so very much! I wish I could visit your class. I love doing those things too. And I’ll have to find that book. It was the spells that got me too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful post first word to last….and all in between. Yes, ginormous is a lovely, fun, awesome word to say. And, I want that book! But, my favorite is your poem. Your love and dedication and passion to and for young learners is so there. You renew my faith in humankind with words like “help you see, help you find” You are a teacher….and a bit of a healer for me today too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I love this post! It’s so rich and dense with all things wonderful. I am going to make it a priority to seek out “The Lost Words” as I’m drowning in the beauty of “Bluebell.” Your poem is brimming with your commitment to your students and nature and shines a light for all of us. Thanks, Christie!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope I can find the book, and love how you’ve written from Liz’s challenge, Christie. That ending is so important to me, was something I did with my students, too. I think you might love “Into The Field” by Claire Walker Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ordered! Many thanks for the recommendation. It’s right up my alley. We scrapped all science kits and our curriculum, at least at the elementary level, and wrote our own that’s all place-based utilizing our conservation land trails, vernal pool, arboretum (formerly Harvard’s), and the organic farm just across the street. I used to dislike teaching science, and now I’d do it all day everyday! It’s also infused into our writing curriculum now, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It and others from her are terrific. We did many field studies at my school, from the littles to the oldest. It is so satisfying, and the teacher learns right along with students, no “pre-curriculum”. Enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, Christie! This whole post is beautiful. Your book share and poem share are magical! “I’m here to help you find places you’ve never been.” That line really resonates and the picture of your little people in nature is so sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Lost Word looks gorgeous! And it makes me yearn even more for the bluebells to come out to play along our rivers. Your post and poetic manifesto give me much hope for the future!

    Liked by 1 person

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