St. Francis of Assisi

Thomas Roddy on “looking for loveliness”

To recharge from a rough day of teaching, I read poetry. There, I can wrestle with something provocative, but concise. In “St. Francis and the Sow,” Galway Kinnell, imagines an exchange between St. Francis of Assisi and a sow whose fourteen piglets deplete her energy and esteem. St. Francis helps the pig to see that in her obligations as a mother, she fulfills her purpose. St. Francis is the sort of teacher I once strove to be—kind, unflappable, and gentle. However, the beneficent teacher I hoped would thrive has not survived; a crankier part of my persona has emerged.

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