Years ago, my wife's high-school religion teacher shared with me a prayer-of-a-poem, "The Hound of Heaven" by English poet Francis Thompson’s (1859-1907), that struck a deep chord within. Since then, annually, I return to this powerful 182-line piece for sustenance and inspiration. Basically, it's a poem that reminds one, in times of forgetfulness or doubt, that while one can run they cannot hide from God's grace.
J.R.R. Tokien said that reading this classic was “one of the most profound expressions of mature spiritual experience," while G.K. Chesterton claimed that it was “the greatest religious poem of modern times and one of the greatest of all times.” Decide for yourself, by reading the excerpt, below, or listening to a rousing reading of the poem in its entirety by actor Richard Burton:
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 mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’
—By Francis Thompson
Image : Francis Thompson