The Hound Of Heaven by Francis Thompson
By Ravi Zacharias
I believe one of the most profound poems ever written was penned by an Englishman named Francis Thompson. Thompson was a genius, but he became a drug addict and was on the run for many years.
Towards the later part of his life he wrote the magnificent masterpiece he called
“The Hound of Heaven.”
The poem describes God as the persistent hound who, with loving feet, follows and follows until he catches up with this person who is trying to run and flee from him. Writes Thompson:
“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.”
As the poem comes to an end, Thompson depicts the persistent cry of God to the one who flees his presence, the one God pursues to the end:
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”
With the wisdom of one who had found himself chased after, Thompson notes the heart of God and the contradiction of humanity. We run away, fearful that if we have God, we might have nothing else beside.
And God says, “You were weak and blind and miserable when you were driving me away, because you were actually driving love away from you. It is Me you seek.”