"The Hound of Heaven" is one of the most beautiful and insightful poems ever written. It is a perfect word picture of deviant, depraved, defiant Man running, running, running from God...from Love...who is personified as the Hound of heaven. Thompson's skillful and brilliant use of language is unsurpassed.
Man's senseless, blind flight from God takes him "across the margent of the world...to the gold gateways of the stars", mindlessly thinking he can hide from Him - "I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon; With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over From this tremendous Lover—Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!" How foolish - how childlike - we are.
The fear that drives the flight is always this: "For,though I knew His love Who followèd, Yet was I sore adread Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside." We run from Him seeking everything but Him, knowing in our heart of hearts that ending the chase means yieldedness...surrender. What a stiff-necked race is humankind. And yet He follows calling, wooing, loving open-armed: "Still with unhurrying chase, And unperturbèd pace,Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, Came on the following Feet, And a Voice above their beat—‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’"
This poem and its timeless truths and themes has stood me in good stead over and over as I guided five children through the difficult passage of childhood to adulthood. I've often gently reminded each restless, wistful, sometimes broken - sometimes angry, teenage heart that they are simply running from the Hound of Heaven.
The inspired, profound truth and beauty in this poem always bends my knee to the Lord of Lords - sorry and shamed...again...that I've run from the Hound of Heaven.
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