Thursday, 17 October 2019

An Onion Poem

A lot of the time people assume that anything an author writes must be autobiographical, especially a poem. Sometimes it is but not always. I remember reading about a Gilbert O'Sullivan tour in the US where Americans wrongly assumed he was an orphan because of his song Alone Again Naturally.

What I'm trying to say is that the following poem is not autobiographical - except for the bit about those onions that have seen better days before you even get them home from the shops.


I tug at the cellophane.
Its crinkle-sealed edges refuse to part.

Each Spring Dad dug the earth
round the back of the outside loo
and planted sets in rows.

I rummage in the drawer beneath
spatulas and holed plastic spoons.

He hoed and tended them after work.
He showed them off to visitors.
He won rosettes with them.

The scissors splits the cellophane
like a spade through well-tilled soil.

He pulled one from the earth each day
and took it in to Mum.
That first slice would bring tears to her eyes.

A base of moulded polystyrene
cradles soggy, brown orbs.

His spade would glisten from the care of a well-oiled rag.
Now it is wrapped in cobwebs
and hung on a nail in a silent shed.

I bin cellophane, polystyrene and oozing onions
and wipe a tear from my eye.


  1. poignant poem. I do like the past and present combined over a simple onion. Very nice.

  2. Very touching, Ros. Then and now for many of us. We need to lose the cellophane and unearth (sorry) our hoes. It would do us all good.

  3. Lovely Ros, I have that problem with corgettes,always one in the soggy.

  4. Hi Ros - my parents grew veggies ... one of my brother's does now - sadly flat life doesn't allow ... but quite agree with your findings. Love the verses in between the story ... cheers Hilary

  5. Love this poem, just bought 2 onions - loose, no cellophane, had a feel before I chose them, no smell of the fresh earth but this poem did the trick - thank you Miriam


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