Poetry by Galway Kinyell

St. 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 the 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 
blessing 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 her tail . . . 
the long, perfect loveliness of sow. 

First Song 
by Galway Kinnell 
"Poetry is the singing of what it is to be on our planet." 

Then it was dusk in Illinois, the small boy 
After an afternoon of carting dung 
Hung on the rail fence, a sapped thing 
Weary to crying. Dark was growing tall 
And he began to hear the pond frogs all 
Calling on his ear with what seemed their joy. 
Soon their sound was pleasant for a boy 
Listening in the smoky dusk and the nightfall 
Of Illinois, and from the fields two small 
Boys came bearing cornstalk violins 
And they rubbed the cornstalk bows with resins 
And the three sat there scraping of their joy. 
It was now fine music the frogs and the boys 
Did in the towering Illinois twilight make 
And into dark in spite of a shoulder's ache 
A boy's hunched body loved out of a stalk 
The first song of his happiness, and the song woke 
His heart to the darkness and into the sadness of joy.