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


YES(1)         BSD General Commands Manual        YES(1)

     yes -- be repetitively affirmative

     yes [expletive]

     yes outputs expletive, or, by default, ''y'', forever.

     The yes command appeared in 4.0BSD.

4th Berkeley Distribution        June 6, 1993

– Linux man page for command “yes”;
(compare a later version)

Song of SecB

O lovely little nascent chain,
A protein soon you’ll be.
You’ll have to leave the ribosome
When it reads UAG.

Diffuse away! You cannot stay
But thanks to Brownian motion,
Before you know it you’re adrift
Upon the inner ocean.

I see you havea leader sequence
Tacked to your front end.
This means you’re going far from here,
My slowly folding friend.

If you will bind to all my sites,
I’ll change my conformation.
Then you’ll be well on your way
To membrane translocation.

Keep a lookout for SecA
For who I have affinity.
A dimer, tetramer and thou –
We three will form a trinity.

When we reach the membrane
I’ll dissociate.
But SecA will guide you safely
To your periplasmic fate.

One day when you’re far away
With ligands of your own,
Think of me, dear old SecB,
Your faithful chaperone.


– Virginia F. Smith,
published in the journal Trends in Biological Sciences, June 1998.