Everything flowers

I am here close to midnight, sat in piles of books. All day (and all night, at regular intervals) and all of the days before, I have been spinning from one thing to the next. The yawning needs of these boys are like a pan of water on a rolling boil. I flip from one to the other and back again. I am accidentally erasing my shopping lists doing the Hokey Cokey in Tesco. I am getting caught in the firing line of bright green poop shooting TWO FEET across the room like a pressure hose. I am playing host to wooden trains using my belly as a ‘bonnsy castle’ (thanks, Henry). I am about ready to throttle the guy who decided that Thomas the Tank Engine episodes should only be five minutes long.  I am kissing a lot of foreheads, and wiping a lot of wax crayon off the wall, and loving these faces so much it actually hurts. In short, I feel like I’m one of those harassed mothers of small children in an advert for nappies or gravy granules, and I kind of thought I’d do it more glamorously than this.

[AMAZING CHAT-UP LINE: ‘you could advertise my gravy granules any day’. Someone use it, please.]

All of which makes it extremely important that every now and again I sit in the middle of poetry books at midnight. You can’t read poetry with half an eye on Facebook. It needs all of you for the words to work. It is a positively luxurious thing to do. And I tell you, there is something about reading the right poem that makes every single part of me stop and be still. I like the quiet.

Like this, for instance.

St. Francis And The Sow

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 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 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.
Galway Kinnell

Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness. Now I remember. Now tomorrow will be fine.



8 thoughts on “Everything flowers

  1. Oh, my heavens, Rach; this is truly lovely. Could you just teach me about poetry? Because clearly I’ve missed something important in among all the Ozymandias (which is lovely, yes, but this is different somehow).


    • That’s the great thing about poetry – there’s something for every mood 🙂 look up Wendy Cope: she’s one of my favourites because she doesn’t try to be too obscure. I am a big fan of Seamus Heaney, e.e. cummings and TS Eliot and just discovered Sylvia Plath. But I like a good collection best: this is the best thing on my shelf – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0140424709. Poems ordered by phases of life, like birth and beginnings, love, marriage, learning etc. It’s magnificent.

      And yes, I get far too carried away 🙂


  2. Though I didn’t gather the entire meaning, I found the poem lovely. At least what I made of it. True, poems need time and dedication and attention for them to be enjoyed, to be made sense of. I mostly avoid them because it is rare that I sit still without thoughts flooding my mind. But I guess I just need to if I want to. You know, give myself some time. May be midnights exist for the very purpose.
    Do you write poetry? I’d love to read some lines of yours. I used to. Gosh, the past tense makes it sound so far away and me so old.
    Lovely post. It made me think so much and then wonder about things…


    • I would love to write poetry. It takes more brain power than I have available at the moment 🙂 and I agree, finding the time and head-space is hard. I don’t get to do it often, but when I do I’m always glad I did.


  3. We all need something to get us through the,madness of raising small children. I’m glad poetry does it for you. And I’m intrigued now to look into poetry a little deeper. I will read your recommendations.


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