Reteach a thing its loveliness — that’s what we do when we practice RadJoy. And it’s what poet Galway Kinnell offers in this poem about an old sow.
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 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.
Reteach a thing its loveliness  —  that’s what we do when we practice RadJoy and make beauty for places that are hurt and endangered.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • Sow And Piglets: Wiktionary

MORE RADICAL JOY REVEALED

  • Peregrine Falcon

The Beauty Impulse

No matter what’s knocked us down or how long we’ve been there, we can not only survive but thrive. Flattened by grief—ecological, social, personal—we can still be pierced by beauty, wonder, and delight. These gifts [...]

  • 800px Bindweed Plant Breaking Through Asphalt 8 P1030678

The Resilience of Green

I am sitting on a fold-up chair at the top of the asphalt driveway which brings us halfway up the mountain to where our house sits. The house was built in 1987, and the driveway [...]

More Revealed

SUBSCRIBE

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.