Monday, May 27, 2013

Saint Frances and the Sow- by Galway Kinnell

Another one of the poems that called me back and revealed its deeper meaning only after the third reading. First the poem, and then its special meaning to me!  

Saint Francis and the Sow
The bud 
stands for all things, 
even for 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 Saint 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 sheer 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. 

by Galway Kinnell
from New Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell 
published by Houghton Mifflin, 2000

I don't know who reminded me, retold me, retaught me, in words or in touch, but reminded I am, and flowering again from within, self-blessed, every inch of my long perfect loveliness, even the spininess spiked out from the spine down to the great broken heart, forgotten for years in service and self denial, awakening again. You, who put your hand on my brow and retold me, I hear you clearly. And I believe you! 

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