Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Poetry Bus - What I Like - Chopping Onions

I'm on the old Poetry Bus again this week (it's getting addictive). NanU is driving this week and the theme is something you like that others don't, or that you think they don't. This was a bit more difficult, I have so many simple pleasures, whether it's hearing soup blip away in a pan, watching my dog belting down the field after a ball, or stepping into a hot shower after a long day. I chose something I've indulged in today, which is my eternal love of vegetables and preparing them. Some people just chop up and chuck in, not taking note of the colour, texture and character of each one. I don't cook for convenience, or speed, I like to take my time. I'm the sort of cook that likes to see all the vegetables grouped in little bowls, all their colours jostling for attention. I like the noise of each vegetable as it's being prepared, and the scent. My favourite at present, is shallots and red onions. No-one I know personally likes chopping them that much, as they stimulate the tear ducts. But that's not enough to put me off.

chopping onions

my time
begins with the pan, the knife, the board.
i choose carefully,
onions, leeks, shallots, garlic.
feel each one in turn,
note the colour, peel papery skin
and enjoy the sound.

pink blushes and translucent rings,
the knife juicily slices them,
leaving planet rings falling like pennies.
the fiery scent,
tingling mist in the air,
fills my nostrils,
stirs my tear ducts.

the beat of the knife tapping the board
with each cut,
is the rythmn of my time
to think
to form ideas
to lose myself in daydreams.


  1. I LOOOOVE THIS!!! My favourite lines are the "planet rings" and the "fiery scent". This is so good!

    I feel the same way about chopping veg - get lost in it and really enjoy the rhythms and the sensuality of it, BUT onions burn my eyes until it is agony. No matter what trick I try, it's still the same response - fire in the eyeballs!


  2. Thankyou Kat!!
    We do seem to be on the same wavelength! I'm fine with most onions but once in a while, there's a stinker and my eyes and nose just stream...
    You're right too, there is something sensual about it.

  3. I didn't think anyone could get poetic over chopping onions, but you have done it Jules. It's agony for me and I am blinded with tears after just one onion. I with you on everything else and vegs. are gorgeous. I just wish I was better at growing them.

  4. Well, it's like Granny said to me once with a wink...'You're odd....'

  5. I quite like the tears that come with onions... powerful reactions are nearly always good!

  6. Yes I like the planet rings too and this has a real sense of occasion and ceremony about what might be overlooked as a chore. Your best poem methinks!

  7. Sorry Jules, just getting to this now! Great poem, and I too love the colours,textures, mix of smells.