Host Organism
Commissioned by the fleshandblood campaign, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, was asked to compose a poem, responding to the themes of blood and organ donation. Giving background into how he approached the brief, Dr Williams explains: “I began with two basic pictures: something being implanted and something breaking through what feels like stasis or deadlock. So the natural point of convergence was the idea of a seed dropped, anonymously, disturbing the heaviness of the soil – the heaviness of what you have come to expect, what you have unhappily got used to. A future that begins in the dark, with surgeons as gardeners; and the hardness, the discomfort of welcoming a new life that bristles and stirs painfully inside. But essentially it’s a poem about hope, and about the sort of providential accident of one life being planted in another and making new things possible.”


Host Organism
I have been living
under the layers
of grain and moisture,
earth in my nostrils
and the years ahead
sitting like hard
pebbles in my gut,
and the hands that get
to sift the slack
grit, while I sleep
fearfully through hours
of gardening labours,
pull themselves clear
and scrape nails clean
so that I feel the pricking
of green points that seek
pathways and waking
and tomorrow’s work,
pushing out of the seed
dropped by some unnamed bird.
By Revd Dr Rowan Williams
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