Look at the earth
stacked beneath us. Did you forget
how solidly we are supported, how much sun
and sky, how much rain and rock
and sharp collisions of matter
have shaped this planet so that we, with our farms and wishes,
can perch on fertile ground and send our small roots,
our potatoes and rutabagas,
our marigolds and elms,
our wells and pastures and our yearning for home
deep as history, to water?
“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.