sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness

I think of this poem as the theme poem of my CHERISH course (which begins next week). When I first started bringing together the pieces of the course, "sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness" was written at the top of every page in my journal.

As I am writing this, out my window the magnolia tree is full of buds just waiting to burst forth. I love how Galway Kinnell, in this poem, follows that bud down to the earthy mothering of the sow, and blesses us along the way. I recommend reading this aloud to yourself to make the blessing even stronger.  

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.