The Lost Words Spell Songs — Songs of Love and Lament for Nature

Linda Wiggin-Kraft

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

There is now a fourteen song musical companion to the highly successful book The Lost Words, A Spell Book. The songs are blessings, protests and praise words that were inspired by The Lost Words book. Written in 2017, the book is a response to Oxford Dictionary for Children removing fifty nature words like acorn, bluebell, dandelion, ivy, lark and otter and replacing these words with technology terms like analog, voicemail, data-base and blog. The dictionary editors decided these nature words were no longer relevant to children’s lives. A loud cry went up by world-renowned writers, environmentalists and nature lovers, including Margaret Atwood, protesting this decision to disappear words about our natural world.

In response to the erasing of nature by word removal, British nature writer Robert McFarlane and artist Jackie Morris created a most beautiful illuminated book of protest that shares poems, or spells and enchantments, to bring life to these parts of nature that the march of “progress” is destroying. The book takes twenty of the deleted words and shares poems, or spells, meant to be spoken or sung out loud in order to summon back the words and creatures into people’s hearts. It is a large somewhat coffee table type book for all ages. Crowd funding efforts have put this book in every elementary school in London, and over 2,000 schools in Scotland.

The Lost Words inspired six musicians to create fourteen songs based on the poems, enchantments and paintings. The musicians along with author Robert McFarlane and artist Jackie Morris gathered in a wild part of Britain in January 2019 to create the songs. They were recorded shortly after and are available as a CD as part of The Lost Words Spell Songs book. This book is as beautiful as the original. There are new illustrations, lyrics for all the songs, musician stories and new poem/spells.

The songs are available on Spotify and there are also numerous YouTube videos showing the musicians, art and the songs themselves. Concerts have been held with the musicians, author and artist. As the songs are being sung in concert Jackie Morris creates paintings of the animals and nature that are being honored in song. Her art is projected on a large screen as it is being created for all to witness. There are more concerts scheduled for spring 2020.

The songs are very beautiful and easily learned*. The spells and enchantments are meant to be spoken, or sung, out loud. “Heartwood” is the title of a song by a tree asking the woodcutter to listen to the tree’s heart and reconsider cutting the tree down. “Charm on, Goldfinch” is about these golden birds gilding the air in flight. Perhaps the most beautiful song is “The Lost Words Blessing”. It starts with, “Enter the wild with care, my love. And speak the things you see. Let new names take and root and thrive and grow”.
Let these beautiful songs be blessings and charms that are spread out onto the land. How often we are mute in our gardens and in nature. Here are songs that can be sung to the earth and its creatures to summon them to life and into our hearts.
*Sheet music is available online for some of the songs at www.TheLostWords.org. School resource worksheets and more information is also available at the website.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and creativity workshop leader. Her blog and website are: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. Her phone number is (314) 504-4266.