A Cunning Blog

Long words. Short words. Words that say something.

A date with eternity



William Blake gets it, two centuries before the mindfulness takes the publishing industry by storm.

I’m just posting this picture today because words about yesterday’s concert have failed me. It’s a slate plaque in Dorothy’s garden, at the end of a stone walkway which runs along the end of the Tiltyard. It’s easy to miss. If it’s cloudy the words sink back into the moss, and if it’s clear the outline gets broken up by light and shade from the sun through leaves. I can’t remember when I first discovered them — it’s not as if they’re secret, or hidden from view. You just have to look.

I normally head into the gardens at Dartington as soon as possible after I arrive but this time I got swept up into stuff, so yesterday was the first time I’d taken a stroll. The soundtrack this time was an accordion flecked with bird song. Very Il Postino.

The concert I’m not going to review: the Skampa Quartet, playing late Haydn, late Beethoven and Shostakovich. Beethoven’s Op 132.  Shostakovich Quartet No. 3. I cannot imagine a better performance. Deeply moved. No words. Just music and silence and infinity in the palm of your hand.



Author: harryfiddler

Harriet Cunningham – aka @harryfiddler — is a freelance writer based in Sydney. Harriet wrote her first novel, about a runaway cat, at the age of 7. In the forty year gap between novel 1 and novel 2 she moved from London to Edinburgh to Sydney, ran an opera company, played violin on the opera house stage and sailed from Gove to Darwin. She is now a music critic and writer, best known as the critic who got banned by Opera Australia. She still hangs out at the Sydney Opera House, is still trying to get that novel published, and still plays the violin.

2 thoughts on “A date with eternity

  1. This is the beauty of the English cultural heritage. I remember well three years ago waking around the expansive grounds of Magdalene College Oxford, where I was staying. When at last I thought myself distant from the college buildings I was, unknowing, in Addison’s Walk. I came across a plaque celebrating summer. Or hope. Or was it celebrating C S Lewis:

    “I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
    This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.
    Winds will not strip the blossoms from the apple trees
    This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.
    This year time’s nature will no more defeat you,
    Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.
    This time they will not lead you round and back
    To Autumn, one year older by the well worn track.
    This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell
    We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.
    Often deceived, yet open again your heart,
    Quick, quick, quick, quick, the gates are drawn apart.”

    Some words of hope and cheer from CS Lewis: “What the bird said early in the year”.

  2. Lovely.

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