Opening night speeches

If you missed the opening, here’s a 13-minute video of the address by Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson, followed by Shaun Tan’s speech (from the 6-minute mark).

Thanks really goes to the people who make these things a reality… [it’s] an amazing conjunction of different circumstances that has allowed this mural to come into being. — Shaun Tan.

And now a few words from Walter de la Mare

During the launch of the sundial, a former student of Peter Kovesi’s father told him that Walter De La Mare had written a poem The Gnomon. So after rummaging through the web, Peter came across this:

The Gnomon

I cast a shadow. Through the gradual day
Never at rest it secretly steals on;
As must the soul pursue its earthly way
And then to night be gone.

But Oh, demoniac listeners in the grove,
Think not mere Time I now am telling of.
No. But of light, life, joy, and awe, and love:
I obey the heavenly Sun.

Walter de la Mare (1945)

A poem of its own

Around the early planning stages of the sundial in 2004, poet and playwright Vivienne Glance was asked to write some words around the work. She’s revisited them and constructed a poem she hopes you might like.

In the hours before sunset

In the hours before sunset, we fill each moment with purpose,

watch shadows fall on passing time, trace rhythms across hour lines.

The sun’s rays play with light and shade as time circles us

and from dawn to our sunset, only your love illuminates the dark beyond.

Listen as time’s rhythm tastes all the seasons.

‘How many hours before sunset?’ you ask and the colours curve their reply–

how many tears,

how many smiles,

how many hands held,

how many sighs?

A sundial’s shadow creeps across the hours

as we gather those we love under the spell of our story.

Dr Vivienne Glance is a West Australian writer and performer who — as ShaunTan is wont to do — is inspired by both the big questions of the day and those small moments within that link us all.