Heart of Oak - Valerie Mendes
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Heart of Oak

Photo by Pete Seward

Matthew Crabb was born in Dorset and currently lives and works on the edge of Exmoor. He intended to have a career in graphic design until he started working in a power-tool hire shop, which is where he became interested in chainsaws.

Now his work as a chainsaw artist takes him all over the world. His unique and spectacular creations are inspired both by his rural upbringing and by the particular characteristics of the wood beneath his blades.

Intricate, imaginative and awe-inspiring, no two pieces are ever the same. From a fantasy dragon’s head to a record-breaking nine-metre high Virgin Mary, his work is always out of this world.

Here is my tribute:

Heart of Oak

For Matthew Crabb

Deep in the forest you’ll find it
Where the trees begin to fall
Deep in the forest the wind blew cold
And thunder took its toll
Another flash of lightning pierced
That heart of oak. It knew
Its time had come, its years full grown
Among the ash and yew.

Deep in the forest they found it
When the storm had done its worst:
Across the path the heart of oak
Lay dead – but never cursed:
A thousand tiny creatures raced
For shelter as it lay
Sprawling and beaten, flat as mud
On that bewildering day.

Deep in the Blenheim forest now
Sits something new from old
An oaken chair with oaken leaves
Carved as the chainsaw told
Our story for tomorrow’s world
A new script’s reckoning –
Come now rejoice and sit with me
As, hearts with oak, we sing.

Valerie Mendes
11 August 2021