Silent the ruined home of silence stands [Netley Abbey]

Netley Abbey

Silent the ruined home of silence stands ,
All heaven for a roof , and every floor
Green paved with living grass :
The wind through arch and door
Shakes fragrance from each flower
That clings , defying hands ,
Where gold and crimson from the crannies flare :
Though the dear pomp of silk and incense pass ,
Here is sufficient grace .

Men saw God’s glory in a dream that found
Perfect expression , ecstasy in stone ,
Greatly , divinely right :
Proportion now alone
Proudly exempt from stain
Clamours without a sound
Till line and balanced curve all senses stun :
God’s glory knows no change , but we who fight
Can dream at no such rate .

The men whose strength and vision framed these walls
Sleep now within them , all their earthly store
Long prey to thieves , moth , rust :
Where candles burn no more
The twilight of one star
Through the dim chancel falls :
Come , love , though sweet is silence , we must stir —
Till all is dared , till our brief strength is dust ,
Seek , even here , no rest .

12 April 1953