The Onion

The onion, now that’s something else.
Its innards don’t exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood
fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.

Our skin is just a coverup
for the land where none dare go,
an internal inferno,
the anathema of anatomy.
In an onion there’s only onion
from its tip to its toe,
onionymous monomania,
unanimous omninudity.

At peace, of a piece,
internally at rest.
Inside it, there’s a smaller one
of undiminished worth.
The second holds a third one,
the third contains a fourth.
A centripetal fugue.
Polyphony compressed.

Nature’s roundest tummy,
its greatest success story,
the onion drapes itself in its
own aureoles of glory.
We hold veins, nerves, fat,
secretions’ secret sections.
Not for us such idiotic
onionoid perfections.

 

– by Wislawa Szymborska, (tr. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh),
from View With a Grain of Sand

The grass beside my elbow parted to reveal

the cat, stepping out in his seven-league boots, with a 4-inch-long bright green grasshopper in his jaws. […] It immediately began to trill, a noise that sounded as if in the body of this insect the grass had gone to emerald, sparkling like newly pressed sap. Translated through that insect intelligence, it had become music. If I had been asked to make music out of grass, I would have transcribed the movement of grass stalks, the way they sweep and weave in shadow and light over distance. I would have talked about mathematics, not about colour and sap. But then, I’m not an insect.

I stepped out into the knee-high clover and laughed and called Diane over, for the grass all around me was covered with those insects. There were hundreds of them chirping their bird-like bell tones in that small field I had let grow wild, and nowhere else.

After a couple minutes, both of the cats were prowling through the music like bad liner notes. […] All the time, the little brass songs of the insects rose out of the grass like Adam’s name for the grass itself.

– Winging Home, page 199-200,
Harold Rhenisch