Poem 10 – Maria and baby Jemima reflect on Lost Words and The Container of Abandoned Minds

So here is Jemima, whose name reminds me of gingerbread and all things beautiful and Beatrix Potter. Her mum Maria assures me they ARE big fans of the enchanting Miss Potter and the family have just finished the whole 23 book series. Maria also homeschools Lani, Rupert and Hugo, whilst managing to run a health and wellness business on the side AND read poetry.

When I find her in the Cafe tent at Youth 2000 Summer Festival in Walsingham, she tells me she’s been enjoying ‘The Making of Mankind’ – poem 25. But today it’s poem 10 and she’s all up for commenting on The Container of Abandoned Minds, whilst the kids play and Jemima snoozes.

You can also hear the full poem here on Soundcloud – the whole track taken from the AudioBook

This is the one for the United Nations Rapporteur who came to a meeting at the House of Lords, to hear from various groups in Britain about whether freedom of conscience was alive and well in our land. My reponse was a poem inspired by a phrase by Paul Hoggett. You’ll discover it in the poem..

‘There is a place
Where standardised thought
Will lead, if you care to go.
Why so few see where the path leads on
Is hard to say or know..

The road takes little effort
As it slopes and twists and winds.
But when you arrive, you’ll know the place:
The container of abandoned minds.

Ooh spooky… it’s like a void, sucking people in!


Its walls are sheer consensus,
Their surface entirely flat
They almost seem to absorb the light
They’re so utterly grey and matt.

And all the sounds are deadened
The many voices stilled

For the container of abandoned minds
Is shockingly, crushingly, filled..

Ooh you know what this is reminding me of. I can really see how this Container of Abandoned Minds is a danger for children too; when they aren’t encouraged to debate, when they aren’t taught how to use logic and reason, when they are left with only their emotions.

Teenagers really need these tools too because they have what you might call a gift of questioning! They want to ‘fight it out’ and I want to embrace that by helping them to be able to dig into the deep questions with some really solid reasoning. And for this they need a wealth of language.

It’s true, one of the dangers with political correctness, is that someone else has done the thinking for you. They’ve made the choice of what can be discussed and what can’t.

One thing we are going to do as a family, is use a beautiful Home Education programme called Mother of Divine Grace. https://modg.org/

Something lovely I saw the other day (and bought) was a book of paintings and poems for children called the Lost Words. Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris have ‘told in gold’ the words from the natural world that were taken out of the Children’s Oxford Dictionary in 2013.

These words such as Acorn and Ivy, Goldfinch (and also Bishop!!) have been taken out, whilst phrases such as ‘cut and paste’ and ‘analogue’ have been put in. The Lost Words aims to summon back the vanishing words and the presence of the worlds that they evoke.

I was talking to a parent who was surprised to find their feisty and recalcitrant teen sitting peacefully, listening to my CD ‘Lipstick is a Spiritual Experience’. But the fact is, that young people tend to love language and ideas that contain presence and promise, beauty and wit. The culture has too little of this for them to enjoy and we start to expect too little of them.

“No healing there
Through pain or joy
They are offered this instead;
That all the world become the same

And the living obey the dead.

There is a place
Where standardised though Will lead, if you care to go.
The container of abandoned minds.
Don’t say you didn’t’ know.”

I was blessed that my parents continually challenged me to think and formulate opinions that I could articulate. And my mum read poetry to my sister and me from an early age. It looks as thought Maria’s children are enjoying the same doses of delight and beauty. Maria tells me that she is committed also to sharing her health and wellness products because they are a great way of helping the family to keep up the homeschooling, whilst sharing products that she knows to be pure and beneficial. No containers of abandoned minds or toxins in her house!!

You can find her products here at Arbonne …enjoy!

You can also hear the full poem here on Soundcloud – the whole track taken from the AudioBook

All 50 poems can be found here on Amazon, together with the book. You can enjoy reading and listening at the same time – Just like we used to do when we were listening to those ‘Little Long Playing Records’ from Disney. How we loved them! And we had to turn the page when Tinkerbell rang her little bells like this… Check out the nostalgia if you were young in 1970 …