Friday, January 28, 2011

Chainsaw sculptures, Dartmoor

In the Beginning
~ David Malouf

The table’s there in the kitchen, where I kneel
on a high chair, tongue at air, trawling a slate
with pot-hooks; on the track of words; on the track of this word,
table. Is there instant, wobbly wooden,
four-square in it solid self, and does not need
my presence to underwrite its own or scrawl,
thick tongue, thick hand, a puddle slate and knock it
up out of blue nowhere. Where are they, table,
slate, slate-pencil, kitchen, and that solid
intent child on one knee reaching for sawn
planks back there? Breathless today, or almost,
I wrestle uphill to where, in a forest gap
of table size, it stands, four legged, dumb,
still waiting. An unbreathed word among the chirrup
and chafe, it taps a foreleg. Table, I mutter.
With tool-marks fresh as tongue-licks, already criss-crossed
with scars I feel my own where hard use makes them,
it moves as that child’s hand moves about muddy water.

From: Poems 1959-1989
Publisher: University Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1992
Image: Atlantic Cedar and Cypress Pine sculptures by chainsaw artist, Kevin Gilders, Dartmoor, South West Victoria.

The Avenue of Honour was planted on Saturday 7 September 1918. The trees, Atlantic Cedars, commemorated 60 World War One servicemen and nurses from the Dartmoor District. In 1993 arborists identified many trees that were unhealthy and unsafe. Gilders was commissioned to carve the trees into suitable images and themes in consultation with relatives and veterans.  Boards milled from the trees were to be kept for other public purposes: a carved timber memorial-mural, and picnic tables and benches.   Lest We Forget.


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