The Tree of Wire


Wire. Paul Nash 1918.

Wire © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2705)

The Tree of Wire

Why did you let this happen Paul?

Not my fault my friend you know how I feel.

Look at all this wire all over me what’s it’s point.

I’m not sure, I think it’s to stop invading troops.

What’s invading troops.

Well that’s debatable.

What are they invading?

Well that’s political, I don’t think its personally against you, you just happened to be in the way.

In the way! I’ve been here for over five hundred years. Any way where’s all this mud come from?

From the rain.

Don’t be sarcastic Paul, you know trees don’t do sarcasm.

Sorry my friend my humanism just couldn’t help it.

Trees can put up with rain, we just soak it down into our roots but it’s this continuous muddy mash trampled down mud, by these so-called invading troops that we struggle with.

I cry for you my friend, you know my love of trees, the mystical presence they have on me. But This quagmire of mud which surrounds and overcomes the very spaces you occupied for generations, is the result of the continuous bombardment of shellfire on canal and drainage systems combined with constant non- stop rainfall. All I can do is paint the truth, showing pockets of rain filled shell-holes shattered tree trunks of rotten wood surrounded by crowns of thorned wires, lying beneath clouds of white purplish grey in a distorted sky.

We know it’s not your fault my friend. Just keep painting back what’s really happening, as our carcasses of shrinking rotten woods ingrained with shellfire sink to the depths of this muddy swamp, while all we can do is think of renewal.

Jim Mallin

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