Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reteaching Loveliness

St. Francis And The Sow 
The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Galway Kinnell

Galway Kinnell is an American poet. He was born in 1927, attended Princeton, and traveled extensively throughout Europe. In the 1960s he worked for racial equality in the United States and protested against the Vietnam War. He was Poet Laureate of Vermont from 1989 to 1993, and has won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

I love the notion of St. Francis reaching out to the female pig, telling her that she is beautiful—she just can’t see it. Don't we all feel that way sometimes?


  1. oh Kathy what a beautiful sentiment. Thanks for explaining it as at first I had forgotten a sow was a female pig.

  2. I don't know if my last comment was dropped, but I don't see it.

    Loved this poem - thanks for posting it.