Writing the Onion
by Catherine Moran, Little Rock, Arkansas
2020 Dancing Poetry Grand Prize (1 of 3 of equal merit)
May be viewed in Session 2 of the 2020 Dancing Poetry Festival, https://youtu.be/-d-LB9ThTfs
To a poet the world is an onion.
That odd-shaped white vegetable
with a hard knot right on top
becomes a globe of great proportions
that must be held in a careful hand.
The life of a poet revolves around
smoothing off the layers of this sphere
and looking inside.
Underneath each tissue
is a glance at humanity striving
to be something great,
and the poet writes this into eternity.
Most of us earthly dwellers remain
in the outer limits of structured curves
foraging like stagnant ewes.
Poets finger through those ragged rings
Poets choose which flimsy layer
has a tale worthy to tell.
To a poet the delight is in peeling.
The world holds the freshness of an onion
hidden under every round of covering.
Capturing that aroma with lines
that knife through to the inner core
is the challenge of every poet's pen.
Just as a clear, white liquid
slowly drips out of this cut vegetable,
the passions of mankind rise
from words arranged on a blank page.
An artist's life is consumed with translating
reality onto a rigid surface.
Gardenias and castles and faces
remain subjects to consider.
A poet's life is artistically removing outer layers
to portray subtle depths
waiting in the corners of a reticent world.
Peeling is the greatest fascination.
To a poet the layers are the mystery.