Francis Thompson—The Hound of Heaven
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“Is my gloom, after all, / Shade of his hand, outstretched caressingly?”
Francis Thompson was an English Catholic poet who died on this day, November 13, in 1907. He was only 47 at the time, stricken with poor health that followed him from hard experiences he had had as a young man living on the streets of London. His story is a powerful witness to grace.
“The Hound of Heaven” was written when Thompson was living at Our Lady of England Priory while recovering from opium addiction. One can hear in it echoed the sentiments of Psalm 139 (which he no doubt would have heard prayed often at the priory): “Where can I go from your spirit, or where can I flee from your face? … even darkness is not dark for you and the night is as clear as the day.”
Let’s pray for the soul of Francis Thompson on this anniversary of his death, and for all the Poor Souls during this month of November!
“The Hound of Heaven” full text at CatholicCulture.org: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=10546
Richard Burton’s famous reading of the poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gToj6SLWz8Q
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Theme music: 2 Part Invention, composed by Mark Christopher Brandt, performed by Thomas Mirus. ©️2019 Heart of the Lion Publishing Co./BMI. All rights reserved.
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