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.

+ Galway Kinnel


This is a Lenten poem if we've ever read one!  From the hope of resurrection burried deep in the first two lines to Saint Francis touching and pronouncing lovely the "unclean" sow.  When we read this poem, we can almost hear the great broken heart of the world sucking, blowing, and drinking deeply from the grace of God during this desert wandering.

Thank you, God, for Lent; a time set apart to commune with pigs and saints alike.  Amen.

Elizabeth MyerComment