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Spell Walk Oak

Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: heron, otter, raven – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, ivy, newt, . . . all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children's voices, no longer alive in their stories.

You hold in your hands a set of spells for conjuring back these lost words. To release these charms you will need to seek out, find and speak them out loud back into the world and only then will they become stitched back into our hearts, mouths and minds eyes.
Now it's time you explored the grounds of Kenilworth Abbey, these are the first steps of your spell-binding journey. Plenty of space to skip and lark, alongside the beasts which reside in the park. To continue please type 'The Lost Words' in the box below.
 
Chapter one

To Conjure the Spells

With your foot prints and breath, we will conjure back these lost words right into the landscape. Through the old magic of being spoken out loud they will flutter and unfold into our bright dreams once again. To dance amongst the pillows and brows of tiny heads and be sweetly sung back into the world once more.
Go to the pink brolly
 
Chapter two

Kingfisher

Kingfisher: the colour-giver, fire-bringer, flame-flicker,
river's quiver.
Ink-black bill, orange throat, and a quick blue
back-gleaming feather-stream.
Chapter three

Neat And Still

Neat and still it sits on the snag of a stick, until with . . .
Gold-flare, wing-fan, whipcrack the kingfisher –
zingfisher, singfisher! –
Flashes down too fast to follow, quick and quicker
carves its hollow
In the water, slings its arrow superswift to swallow
Stickleback or shrimp or minnow.
Chapter four

Halcyon Is

Halcyon is its other name – also ripple-calmer,
water-nester,
Evening angler, weather-teller, rainbringer and
Rainbow bird – that sets the stream alight with burn
and glitter!

Now say the word 'kingfisher' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Go to the purple brolly
 
Chapter five

Otter

Otter enters river without falter – what a
supple slider out of holt and into water!
This shape-shifter's a sheer breath-taker, a
sure heart-stopper – but you'll only ever spot
a shadow-flutter, bubble-skein, and never
(almost never) actual otter.
Chapter six

The Swift Swimmer

This swift swimmer's a silver-miner – with
trout its ore it bores each black pool deep
and deeper, delves up-current steep and
steeper, turns the water inside-out, then
inside-outer.
Chapter seven

Ever Dreamed Of

Ever dreamed of being otter? That
utter underwater thunderbolter, that
shimmering twister?
Run to the riverbank, otter-dreamer, slip
your skin and change your matter, pour
your outer being into otter – and enter
now as otter without falter into water.

Before you move on, say the word 'otter' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Go to the orange brolly
 
Chapter eight

Acorn

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.
Chapter nine

The Spelling

Before you move on, say the word 'acorn' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Chapter ten

Onwards

Go to the blue brolly
 
Chapter eleven

Bramble

Bramble is on the march again,
Rolling and arching along the hedges,
into parks on the city edges.
Chapter twelve

All Streets Are

All streets are suddenly thick with briar:
cars snarled fast, business over.
Moths have come in their millions,
drawn to the thorns. The air flutters.
Bramble has reached each house now,
looped it in wire. People lock doors,
close shutters.
Chapter thirteen

Little Shoots Steal

Little shoots steal through keyholes,
to leave – in quiet halls,
Empty stairwells – bowls of bright
blackberries where the light falls.

Before you move on, say the word 'bramble' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Go to the purple brolly
 
Chapter fourteen

Raven

Rock rasps, what are you?
I am Raven! Of the blue-black jacket and the
boxer's swagger, stronger and older than peak
and than boulder, raps Raven in reply.
Air asks, what are you?
I am Raven! Prince of Play, King of Guile,
grin-on-face base-jumper, twice as agile as
the wind, thrice as fast as any gale, rasps
Raven in reply.
Chapter fifteen

Vixen Ventures

Vixen ventures, what are you?
I am Raven! Solver of problems, picker of
locks, who can often outsmart stoat and
always out-think fox, scoffs Raven in reply.
Earth enquires, what are you?
I am Raven! I have followed men from forest
edge to city scarp: black shadow, dark
familiar, hexes Raven in reply.
Chapter sixteen

Nothing Knows

Nothing knows what you are.
Not true! For I am Raven, who nothing cannot
know. I steal eggs the better to grow, I eat
eyes the better to see, I pluck wings the
better to fly, riddles Raven in reply.

Before you move on, say the word 'Raven' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Chapter seventeen

Acknowledgements

Thankyou for spelling these words back into the landscape.

The Lost Words was published by Hamish Hamilton in the UK October 2017 - ISBN ref 978-0241253588

All images remain copyright of Jackie Morris and lost word spells by Robert Macfarlane with additional words by Christopher Jelley and Storywalks©
Go to the orange brolly
 
Chapter eighteen

Heron

Here hunts heron. Here haunts heron.
Huge-hinged heron. Grey-winged weapon.
Eked from iron and wreaked from blue and
beaked with steel: heron, statue, seeks eel.
Rock still at weir sill. Stone still at weir sill.
Dead still at weir sill. Still still at weir sill.
Until, eelless at weir sill, heron magically . . .
unstatues.
Chapter nineteen

Out Of The Water

Out of the water creaks long-legs heron,
old-priest heron, from here on in all sticks
and planks and rubber-bands, all clanks and
clicks and rusty squeaks.
Chapter twenty

Now Heron Hauls

Now heron hauls himself into flight – early
aviator, heavy freighter – and with steady
wingbeats boosts his way through evening
light to roost.

Before you move on, say the word 'heron' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Go to the red brolly
 
Chapter twenty-one

Conker

Cabinet-maker, could you craft me a conker?
Oil its wood, burnish its veneer, set it glowing
from within?
Never. Not a chance. No hope at all.
Chapter twenty-two

King Then

King, then, could you command me a conker?
Compel its green spikes to grow, its white plush
to thicken? Impossible. Impractical. Inconceivable.
Engineer, surely you could design me a conker?
Refine its form, mill its curves and edges?
Manufacture me that magic casket?
Unfeasible. Unworkable. Unimaginable.
Chapter twenty-three

Realize This

Realize this (said the Cabinet-maker, the King and
the Engineer together), conker cannot be made,
however you ask it, whatever word or tool you use,
regardless of decree. Only one thing can conjure
conker – and that thing is tree.

Before you move on, say the word 'conker' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Go to the pink brolly
 
Chapter twenty-four

Ivy

I am ivy, a real high-flyer.
Via bark and stone I scale tree and spire.
You call me ground-cover; I say sky-wire.
Chapter twenty-five

The Spelling

Say the word 'ivy' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Go to the blue brolly
 
Chapter twenty-six

Willow

Willow, when the wind blows so your branches billow,
O will you whisper while we listen so we learn what
words your long leaves loosen?
If you whisper when the wind blows so your branches
billow, willow, we will listen for a day, a week, a year,
till we know what willows say, what willows speak.
Lean in, listeners, come below our leaves and wait until
the wind blows so our branches billow, listen for a year,
a week, a day, but you will never hear what willows speak,
what willows say.
Chapter twenty-seven

Long You Linger

Long you linger, listeners, hard you press your ears against
our bark, but you will never sense our sap, and you will
never speak in leaves, or put down roots into the rot –
for we are willow and you are not.
Chapter twenty-eight

Open Up Your Heartwood

Open up your heartwood to us will you, willow, show
your deep within, your rough without, your waterbrushing
bough, your shoot, your grain, your knot?
We will never whisper to you, listeners, nor speak, nor shout,
and even if you learn to utter alder, elder, poplar, aspen,
you will never know a word of willow – for we are willow
and you are not.

Before you move on, say the word 'willow' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
Go to the red brolly
 
Chapter twenty-nine

Newts

‘Newt, oh newt, you are too cute!'
Emoted the coot to the too-cute newt,
‘With your frilly back and your shiny suit
and your spotted skin so unhirsute!'
Chapter thirty

Too Cute

‘Too cute?!' roared the newt to the
unastute coot. ‘With all this careless
talk of cute you bring me into
disrepute, for newts aren't cute:
Chapter thirty-one

We're Kings Of

we're kings of the pond, lions of the
duckweed, dragons of the water;
albeit, it's true,' – he paused – ‘minute.'

Now say the word 'newt' into the wind to spell the word back into being.
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