Harty Triptych

This piece of writing is carved into two sculptures (‘Edge’ and ‘Raptor’) by Alun Heslop, located near the hamlet of Harty on the Isle of Sheppey. The lines of text conflate the human fascination with birds in flight – (Marsh Harriers and other rare birds can be seen flying over this RSPB protected site) with an evocation of the early days of powered flight, when pioneering aviators flew over this same stretch of land. In 1909, aviator Claude Moore-Brabazon famously took a piglet named Icarus on the first one mile flight in a ‘heavier-than-air flying machine’, as they were called.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” – (Lord Kelvan, President of the Royal Society, 1895)

The work was commissioned by FrancisKnight contemporary arts practice as part of a project called Leysdown Rose-tinted. (Photo © Richard Gooding)

EDGE
RAPTOR

1

caution not
that pigs might fly

for here

in 1909
one did

 

2

Icarus

the spirit
of adventure

no man

as the prophet said
soars too high

if he soars

with his own
wings

 

3

eyes
through time

have seen

and minds
have marvelled

at this thing

a bird
in flight

great wings

riding
the breeze

and somewhere

between the dream
and invention

the suggestion

of impossible
freedoms