When the doors of the house are shut,
Eyes lidded, mouth closed, nose and ears
Doing their best to idle, fingers allowed out
Only on parole; when the lovely holy distractions,
Safe scaffolding of much loved formulae,
Have been rubbed away; then the plant
Begins to grow. It is hard to rear,
Rare herb of silence, through which the Word comes.
Three centuries of reticent, meticulous lives
Have naturalised it on this ground.
And the herb is the Vine, savage marauder,
That spreads and climbs unstoppably,
Filling the house, the people, with massing insisting shoots
That leaf through windows and doors, that rocket through chimneys,
Till flesh melts into walking forms of green,
Trained to the wildness of the Vine, which exacts
Such difficult witness; whose work is done
In hopeless places, prisons, workhouses,
In countinghouses of respectable merchants,
In barracks, collieries, sweatshops, in hovels
Of driven and desperate men.
It begins here
In the ground of silence.
U. A. Fanthorpe, Friends Meeting House, Frenchay, Bristol, 2010 .