The Perfect Loveliness of a Sow

sow and piglets courtesy of

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 blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
the long, perfect loveliness of a sow.

–Galway Kinnell

Poetry sometimes has a way of speaking truth that captures it in such a wonderful picture we cannot help but say, “Amen!” That’s the way I feel about this poem by Galway Kinnell because it reminds me of how each of us has the opportunity daily to help someone or something by “retell[ing] it in words and in touch /  it is lovely / until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.”

There is a power in encouragement and a kind word that is fitly spoken. Today I tell you, dear reader, “You are lovely,” in the hopes that you will blossom and share that loveliness with the world, as only you can do.

~by Nan Kuhlman

photo courtesy of


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