Yes, the sow. The mama swine. The big fat pig, as we farm kids used to call her. The pigs, especially, made a big todo of grunting others aside to gobble down feed from the trough, with the sow in the lead.
Until recent years, nobody kept a “pet pig,” and back then, only the tiniest, pinkest piglets were thought cute. But things have changed. Now, people have a pet everything. The other day, a television show highlighted a woman with a pet iguana that she petted with her fingers.
Anyway, back to the sow. Galway Kinnell, a bright light in the world of poetry, passed from this world in 2014, and his poem fits the heroines of my novels, Heroines Who Dare to Bloom. As anyone who’s ever struggled with self-confidence knows, blooming requires a good self-concept: you believe you’re worthy because you’re a human being, created to be the best you can be. But some people require time to develop this belief.
Please read the entire short poem, Saint Francis and the Sow HERE: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171395
I’d like to print it in its entirety, but am careful with copyright issues. Here’s the beginning, and I hope you take a few moments to read the rest.
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 . . .
Galway Kinnell, “Saint Francis and the Sow” from Three Books. Copyright © 2002 by Galway Kinnell. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Kinnell goes on to describe a sow feeding her litter. LIke I said, please read the poem in its entirety to appreciate the context.
It struck me this morning that my literary characters have much in common with this poet’s flower, or the sow he describes as lovely. Somebody outside my heroines must see their beauty, and through touch and words, reteach them their worth.
That’s the beauty of story. As in real life, people and circumstances see in us what we cannot. They believe in us, and eventually we borrow their faith. Once day, we look into the mirror and acknowledge our beauty. All this takes time, and that’s what a novel gives us–time to consider how strength develops, the avenues it opens, and the power of friendship in this proceess.
Someone told me recently she enjoyed Dottie and Al’s mutual progress in believing they’re worthy of good things, worthy of second chances. Lately, I’ve been spending lots of time with another WWII heroine named Addie. She’s coming into her own a little more each day, coming to believe she has a voice she can employ on her own behalf.
The next step, of course, is using her voice to cheerlead others, and I think she’s almost there! I’ll let you know of her appearance during the next few months.