Poetry, The Daily Blog

The Bud Stands For All Things

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There are days that are really difficult to get up and to get excited about being a teacher. When those days come, I try with all my might to remind myself why my job matters and why I need to be present with my students. I first heard this poem while listening to Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott on CD. I was driving to school and she recited this poem as an introduction to one of the chapters and I must have replayed the poem three times before I got to school. I ran in to my room (I had a student teacher at the time) and began searching online for this poem. I found it, read it aloud, and then stabbed it onto the wall next to my desk with a thumbtack.

The bud does indeed stand for all things. I have a lot of students in my classroom everyday who are buds; who haven’t flowered, who don’t know how to flower, or who are terrified to flower, or who do everything possible to make sure that they don’t flower. My job is reteach those little buds their loveliness. To remind them that someone cares – that I care, and that they are worth it – over and over and over again. And hope that someday they’ll believe it too.

“Saint Francis and the Sow”

By Galway Kinnel

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.