Study Guide

Saint Francis and the Sow

by Galway Kinnell

Saint Francis and the Sow eText - eText

Text of the Poem

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of selfblessing;
though sometimes it is necessary     5
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     10
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     15
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,
down through the great broken heart
20 to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering     20
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.