The Travelling Onion

To the Muses, with love, 2005

“And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.”* The onion does
what it does. We each must live this way.
The small tears you have caused me
the days of laughter
they are of my own making
yet they are yours; you must love the way
you live your life. You must love your own
rich juices, your protective skin, the layers
of your heart revealing
chamber after secret chamber,
the floating centre. You must love
the way your roots have nourished you
and clung to dirt to keep you honest.
Remember your beginnings.
Do not ask me to believe
you are anyone but yourself.

*Naomi Shihab Nye, “The Travelling Onion”, from Yellow Glove, 1986.

The bones of a poem

The bones of a poem
lie beneath your skin,
anchoring each muscular stanza,
shaping the rhymes of left
and right, dancing
with the complicated riff of the brain punch-drunk on electrical impulses,
stamping jubilant feet
to the pulsing rhythms
of the fluid-bearing
vessels
and their
drum-beat
heart.