We begin our fall series with the work that G.K. Chesterton called, “the greatest poem ever written in modern English,” namely, Francis Thompson’s devastating piece, “The Hound of Heaven.” J.R.R. Tolkien credited this work with having a significant influence on his masterpiece trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, noting that the poem is “one of the most profound expressions of mature spiritual experience.” Dorothy Day was also strongly impacted by Thompson’s poem writing: “It is one of those poems that awakens the soul, and recalls to it the fact that God is its destiny.”
Of course, it needs to be noted that poetry is a challenging art form, and that the greater the poem, the bigger the challenge it represents. Thompson’s work is difficult to crack but very worth the effort. I suggest you read it over a few times and just let some of the phrases sink into your heart and spirit. We then work it together in our session, and will certainly come away better for what will be a worthy struggle.
Here is a copy of the poem to read.
Or, you may prefer listening to it in audio version.
Also, here is a modern, animated adaptation that might help you into the work.