poet Galway Kinnell

Galway Kinnell

#387 on top 500 poets

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.

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about St. Francis And The Sow by Galway Kinnell

  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (6/25/2020 9:24:00 PM)

    I can accept the stunning beauty of flowers, but I have trouble seeing anything
    attractive about a sow. These animals revel in mud and dirt, and even St. Francis cannot redeem that. The saint was not always right.

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  • Vnivola (6/23/2018 2:07:00 AM)

    Here’s a good one

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  • Claudia Moline (5/8/2010 7:39:00 AM)

    Wonderful poem. Found it first in a book and am sharing it with others. Should be considered a classic,

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Read poems about / on: flower, sometimes, heart, remember