Listen. A mysterious music, an eerie humming. What can it be? Like an Eolian harp, the fence-wire is tuned to the wind. It’s magical. Place a finger on the wire and the vibration is stilled, the music silenced.
Looking back toward Bleaberry Fell the bogbean tarn is still visible, if you know where to look in the picture, west of the singing fence.
Follow the song all the way up to High Seat where the cairn catches the wind.High Seat belongs to the ravens. The pair circle about the rocky knoll croaking, folding their wings and falling through the air. Waiting to reclaim their look-out post. There was billowing depths of dynamic cloud, louring and pierced with blue.
Next day, once again, I read Coleridge’s poem, The Eolian Harp. Placed in a casement, the stringed instrument makes music in the breeze.
‘Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Fairy Land.’
Imagine such music on a January day in the fells, the surprise and mystery of it. A witchery of sound and magical light.
I told Brian Bowness. The Eolian harp is an effect I’ve rarely heard, and so the more remarkable.
‘On the far side of the moon they have it regular.’
I may have laughed, but he has poetry. He runs with the far side of the moon motif. He’s willing to hear the music of the spheres, to credit marvels.
Next time I heard the Eolian harp I was on the Smardale Ghyll Viaduct. You'll find this episode in my new book, Cumbrian Contrasts.