for all things.



Courtesy of my writing advisor in college, Sebastian Matthews, I discovered Galway Kinnell and promptly fell in love with his strong sense of imagery and the gritty, seemingly intimate and masculine attention to detail that he applies to both things and ideas. One of my favorite lines, that I think of often (and especially now that Spring is springing forth) is, “the bud/stands for all things/even for those things that don’t flower…” from his poem ‘St Francis and the Sow’. I woke up thinking about that this morning, thinking about the anticipation of a beginning and the idea that one interaction at the start will irreversibly influence all that comes after, even if it never appears to come to fruition. This time of the year is most clearly defined by a sense of anticipation and ability, and it is impossible to not dream of seeing both the buds and the flowers, although after all these sleepy cold months, the bud does seem to stand for all things.

Here’s the poem in its entirety, and the photos above are of some stargazer lillies that Drew brought home for me a year or two ago.

Saint Francis and the Sow
by Galway Kinnell

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.

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