Today is my birthday, and I thought I’d share my beautiful birthday present. It’s a series of reclaimed slate discs, inscribed with the words of my short poem The Cardinal Directions by letter-carver and sculptor Giles MacDonald. Giles came and set them into the lawn beneath our rose pergola yesterday. As you will see, already nature is incorporating them into the garden, with sun dapple, fallen leaves, and even birdshit.
The Cardinal Directions
The first disc is blank, for the navel of the world, which is now in Idbury, as any fule kno. Previous navels of the world that I know of include Delphi, Easter Island, and the mouth of Heart River in North Dakota. There’s even one in a song by Jesse Winchester, which turns up in his backyard, just as it has in mine. The next four roundels lead you through the four lines of the poem, as you walk the length of the pergola (which in six weeks time will be a glorious mass of white Wedding Day roses).
Here are two close-ups to show the beauty of Giles’s letter-cutting, and the intimate detail of the chisel-marks.
Close up of the letter o
Close up of the words the stars
The sculpture isn’t quite complete. At a later stage there will a stone column - a world axis - at the far end of the pergola, with the same text in rudimentary Anglo-Saxon.
If anybody out there spots any errors in this, I’d be grateful to have them pointed out before Giles takes his chisel in hand… I’m looking forward to leaving a 21st-century inscription in Old English, complete with an eth (ð) and a thorn (Þ), just to puzzle future generations.