Poetry Break: A reminder of your loveliness

Take a minute and read this one out loud. To yourself. Or, if you have one, to your pig.

(It’s the only way I can get poetry to make sense to me. The line breaks, quite wonderfully, tell you where to pause. It’s like the secret code of poetry, cracked. It needs VOICING! Who knew. I can’t believe I got through English without realizing this…)

Photo by Kameron Kincade on Unsplash

Just to be clear, this isn’t actually a poem about a pig. Not really. At least, I’m pretty sure.

I think, spoiler alert, it’s about reclaiming the word, blessing. Reclaiming the experience of a blessing. Blessing is a thing that one of my favourite storytellers and mythologists, Martin Shaw speaks of. He describes it like this:

“We’re living in a time where we get a lot of affirmations, but what we don’t get, is blessings. A blessing is something where, you have been keenly witnessed in some difficult labour, and usually somebody that is older than you, takes you aside, and says, I saw that thing you did. And you will know when you’ve been blessed. Because suddenly you will feel full.”

“Heartbreak is the debt of living. And we are culturally being called forward to think in ways we’ve never thought before.” Martin Shaw

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.

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