When reading poetry, I do not feel at home. While I appreciate the rythmn and rhyme of poetry, at times I find the elusive nature of poetry frustrating. I must fight against the impulse to pin a poem down until it surrenders “it’s meaning,” because at their best, poems are less about what they mean, and more about what they do to us. Poems stir in us feelings, awaken our senses, to the rhythm and meter of life around us.
This week we begin a four week walk through the book of Jonah. While not a book of poetry per se, the book refuses our efforts to extract simple messages or morals from it. Rather, it shakes us up, unsettles us and causes us to wonder about God, creation and our role within it.
In that spirit I want to share a poem by Francis Thompson, “The Hound of Heaven.” The above video is a reading of it, and you can follow along with the words here.
It seemed a fitting poem for the first chapter of Jonah that we read this week.