WHO wrote a poem called Ennerdale? That’s the question Susan Hedworth is asking West Cumbrians to help solve as she organises a concert in tribute to her brother, a composer who died at the age of 68.

She and her brother, Michael Smith, were originally from the north east, but Michael, who was born in 1941, was evacuated to Skelton near Penrith during the war, falling in love with the Lake District and returning every year for holidays.

Susan recalls that Michael wrote his song Ennerdale sometime in the 1950s while he was in his 20s, after reading the poem.

“The book was clothbound, without a dust jacket and sage green in colour – possibly landscape rather than portrait in layout. The poem was written by a woman, and located somewhere at the back of the book,” she said.

“I just thought it might be nice to acknowledge the author. I can picture the book – it was at my parents’ house when we were children.”

Susan has never managed to find the author, or the book, despite Googling all the words several times in the last few years, asking in numerous small local bookshops and contacting the Ennerdale Local History group.

The original book seems to have disappeared from the family’s libraries. Susan thinks that the poem may have been written any time between 1880 and 1940.

Michael learned to play the piano, violin and viola while growing up, spending his life as a professional musician until his death in 2009. As lead viola player, he performed with the Scottish National Orchestra, before moving to Holland to play there.

“We used to go back to Cumbria as often as possible. My brother lived in Holland for a lot of his career, but he used to go back and camp there even when he was based in Holland. The Lake District was his passion, he loved it,” said Susan.

After his death, the Michael Jon Smith Trust was set up. “We set up the Trust to promote his music,” said Susan. “We have had other concerts of just my brother’s music.”

Michael also wrote compositions about poet William Wordsworth, and concerts have already been staged at Higham Hall near Cockermouth and the poet’s former home of Rydal Mount. Among the many compositions is his setting of Wordsworth’s Prelude which was performed in Gateshead just a week before his death.

The next concert, which will feature Ennerdale, is on Saturday at 7pm at St Mary’s Church, Ambleside.

The concert – A Friendship in Music – will see the music written by Michael and Christopher Wood performed. They met in 1990 in Newcastle on Tyne and became friends.

Performing in Ambleside will be Austin Gunn (tenor), Caren Moffett (soprano), Nick Butters (piano), members of the Borrowdale String Ensemble and Deborah Thorne of the Royal Northern Sinfonia (cello).

The poem is printed below. Anyone who can identify it can contact Susan on 07841349164 or email hedworth@hotmail.com. She can also be contacted for tickets for Saturday’s concert.

The place is very still and lone
A wilderness of grass and stone
Save where the sweet lake fills the vale
And mirrors all the silent scene.

Great mountain masses intervene
Betwixt the world and Ennerdale
The mountain sheep climb high and far
To crop the grass on fell and scar.

Darkly o’erhead the ravens sail
The silence is as deep as when
The wild deer used to haunt the glen
And drink the streams of Ennerdale .

The magic of the place is this
It’s solitude and silentness
Streams rush on and tempests wail
But other sounds are few
And deep the silence is,
that loves to sleep
In the solitudes of Ennerdale.