Parisian Literary Salon

creating community through reading and discussing literature

St. Francis & the Sow to Unaccomodated Man

Filed under: Poetry & Musings — literarysalon at 10:42 am on Sunday, October 2, 2005

3. St Francis & The Sow
by Galway Kinnell
The bud
Stands for all things,
Even 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 St. Francis
Put his hand on the creased forehead
Of the sow, and told her in words and touch
Blessings of the 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 spines spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the 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.

From A Reader’s guide to James Joyce by William York Tindall (Noonday Press, NYC, 1959) :
“Joyce’s problem then, was not only how to make a work of art from moral matter but, making the particular universal, how to suggest all youth, all loneliness, all desire. Stephen’s inscription on the flyleaf of his geography book provides a clue: “Stephen Dedalus” it begins, then proceeding through class, school, town, country, continent, it ends with “the World, The Universe.” Joyce told a friend: “If I can get to the heart of Dublin, I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”
Tindall, pg. 73

From King Lear, Act III, sc. iv, lines 96-103

Lear: Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer with
thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies. Is man no
more than this? Consider him well. Thou owest the worm no
silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no per-
fume. Ha! Here’s three on ‘s (of us) are sophisticated. Thou art the
thing itself; unaccomodated man is no more but such a
poor, bare, forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings!
Come, unbutton here. {Tearing off his clothes}

What you can you weave out of these pieces? How might they reflect on each other, building in an idea?

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