Friday, 10 April 2015

345 THE CHERRY TREE by TED HARRISON




       Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
      Is hung with bloom along the bough. 
      And stands above the woodland ride
      Wearing white for Easter tide.

       Now, of my threescore years and ten,

     Twenty will not come again,
     And take from seventy springs a score,
     It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom 
    Fifty springs are little room
    About the woodlands I will go
   To see the cherry hung with snow.
     




  The artist, Ted Harrison, read this poem by A E Housman at the opening ceremony when his sculpture The Cherry Tree was unveiled.  The words are a poignant reminder of the fragility and brevity of life. In the poem a mere 20 year old rues the fact that even if his life runs to the end of the conventional span of three score years and ten, he has a mere 50 springs ahead and with that, a mere 50 chances to see ‘the cherry hung with snow’. 

 In 1990 a journalist with kidney failure -  following an illness he had contracted 6 years earlier while reporting on an earthquake in Algeria - turned up at Guy’s Hospital for a transplant. Neither he nor his doctors could predict the outcome with any certainty.
Recently the same man, Ted Harrison,  returned to Guy’s not as a patient, but as an artist. He had been commissioned to create a major new work of art for the central atrium, a light, airy, leafy green space deep inside Guy's hospital, where staff, patients and visitors gather. The commission was to honour all those who have given organs for transplantation, both living donors and those who in death gave new hope to sufferers.

The Cherry Tree is a three metre square wall-mounted installation. It’s made from several hundred pieces of stainless steel, cut to shape, some painted, some not. Designing the work had an added meaning: it marked the 25th anniversary of the artist’s own transplant operation – over a quarter of a century of life already given by a donor. The artist has corresponded with her family through the hospital, but does not know her name.
The gardening broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh  unveiled the plaque. seen above decked in pink. Rowan Williams, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, introduced  a short time of  contemplation and prayer.


For a gripping account of  the artist's story:


 For a general enquiry about blood and organ donation:

 

2 comments:

  1. Hope you read my comment Ted. Loved your sculpture at Guy's.

    ReplyDelete