Here's a poem I return to all the time for its inner affirmations, its glow. And it's about a radiant pig! My students all have to memorize this one. Better to have this meditation on one's lips than the negative mutterings that might take its place: Look at the way it fans out on the page and falls in love with its own idiosycracies. Galway Kinnell is the maestro!
Saint Francis and the Sow
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
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.
This was first printed in Mortal Acts, Mortal Words, and now can be found in Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.