My “Traveling Onion” post – Jonah Wilson

The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye helps us see the small everyday things in life can be the most impactful.  In the beginning of the poem, snippets from the Better Living Cookbook are included, explaining the journey the onion has traveled over the years. Instantly, we learn something intriguing about the onion. In the second line of the poem she says, “Just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise,” again this shows us how much we take everyday objects and treat them as if they are never ending and will always be at our fingertips. That example also shows a form of imagery.  Later, starting in the sixth line, Nye starts calling “the onion” “onion,” because I believe in some way she respects onion, which is similar to when people capitalize “God” when they worship and leave it as “god” when they don’t believe in him.  I believe Naomi is trying help us realize that we should be more appreciative of what we have and the trip it has undergone, because as stated in the last four lines, “now limp and divided, or its traditionally honorable career: For the sake of others, disappears.”  This meaning, one day it may be gone and only then would we realize it.  Currently we think of onions as an everyday food, but in reality they are a luxury.

The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye

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 smooth agreement,
the way the knife enters onion
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.
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