Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Small Forgotten Miracles: A Poem and a Writing Prompt

Last night's dinner

Here's one of my all-time favorite poems from one of my all-time favorite contemporary poets, Naomi Shihab Nye.  I love it for the deeply human significance it finds in something so "small and forgotten":

The Traveling Onion

It is believed that the onion originally came from India.  In Egypt it was an object of worship--why I haven't been able to find out.  From Egypt the onion entered Greece, and on to Italy, thence into all of Europe.

--Better Living Cookbook

When I think how far the onion has traveled
just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise
all small forgotten miracles,
crackly paper peeling on the drainboard,
pearly layers in sooth agreement,
the way knife enters onion, straight
and onion falls apart on the chopping block,
a history revealed.

And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.
It is right that tears fall
for something small and forgotten.
How at meal, we sit to eat,
commenting on texture of meat or herbal aroma
but never on the translucence of onion,
now limp, now divided,
or its traditionally honorable career:
For the sake of others,
disappear.

Now here's your poetry prompt: Write a tribute to a small, forgotten miracle.  

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