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Poet is example for others

Editor, OBSERVER:

“The Hound of Heaven” is a poem by Francis,Thompson (1859-1907), a man in search of answers. Throughout his early existence there is a discomfort, an unease of mind and soul. Our poet was born with many opportunities that could give him a life style through family and friends and have a prosperous future. But he had an uncompromising, rebellious nature warring against good sense. He traveled down a road and way of life wasted and abused mostly by drugs. Unsurprisingly he ended up in rags, sleeping in the alleys and streets, sinking in troubled waters, living among fellow beggars and others whose blind choice was self-destruction. If he existed in our time, he would have been thought of by the more judgmental as a loser, someone to gossip about over the back fence shaking their heads. But, thankfully he was not fully bereft of friends and family. He was found out, deemed worth salvaging, and convinced to go into a Franciscan Priory where he resided for two years. There he was weaned off the addictions.

While sheltered in this early form of a faith based rehab he wrote his epic work: The Hound of Heaven. The hound is a metaphor for God as the Hound searching for His wayward children — asking them to return back to His family — or suffer the anguish and loneliness of the dispossessed. Our poet summed it up in these following lines.

“Naught shelters thee (says God as the Hound) who will not shelter Me, all that you have fancied as lost I have stored away for you at home.

“Rise, take my hand and come!”

Now divinely enlightened and inspired. Francis Thompson turned his life around and his reformation became an example for others to follow.

RALPH BURKE,

Dunkirk

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