Tribute to Dr. J. Herman Blake from Donna Healey

Herman,
I have searched for words to express how I appreciate you and to describe what you have given. I find them in a favorite poem of mine. It hung over my son’s crib when he was a baby and it sits framed in my office now. For me, it expresses the deepest gifts that  one human being can give to another.

Saint Francis and the Sow
by Galway Kinnell

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.

By being all of who you , your kindness, your bravery, your curiosity, your brilliance, your huge ability to imagine what might be, your relentless hard work, your unstoppable care,  your keeping on and on and on, you have retaught me and countless others our own loveliness and in so doing allowed us to to see the  worth and loveablility of the entire world.

Donna Healey
Cowell, 1972

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