Poem: “The Kingdom of God”

The Kingdom of God

O WORLD invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air—
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumour of thee there?

Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!—
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

The angels keep their ancient places;—
Turn but a stone, and start a wing!
‘Tis ye, ‘tis your estrangèd faces,
That miss the many-splendoured thing.

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry;—and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry,—clinging Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water
Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!

Francis Thompson

Francis Thompson was born in England to a respectable Catholic family in 1859. He studied to become a priest, but was sent home by the headmaster who declared that Francis was not cut out for the priesthood. Francis then tried to become a doctor. Instead he became an opium addict, destitute, and lived on the streets. Though homeless, he wrote poetry and sent it to a publisher. This was the turning point in his life. The publisher sent Francis to a clinic to sober up, and then to a monastery to convalesce where he wrote most of his poetry. Francis died in 1907.