Saturday, April 28, 2007

398. Onion - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from Polish by Sharon Olds

It's really something, the onion
It doesn't have entrails.
It is itself, through and through,
all of it just onion.
Onionlike on the outside,
oniony to the core,
the onion could look into itself
without any fear.

In us lurks the strange and the wild
barely covered by the skin.
In us, an inferno of guts,
violent anatomy.
In the onion, nothing but the onion,
no twisted intestines,
Undressed many times, it repeats itself
to its depths.

A consistent creature, the onion,
a well-made thing.
Inside one, simply another,
in a larger, a smaller,
and in the next, the next.
Centrifugal fugue.
Echo in unison.

The onion, I do appreciate it:
the prettiest belly in the world.
It wears halos
for its own glory.
In us, fat, nerves, veins,
valves, and secrets.
For us it's unattainable,
the idiotism of perfection.

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