Theme: Self

Core of the Onion

As one removes
layer after layer
the onion spreads a piercing odor
nose tingles
eyes prickle with tears
All layers strewn
the bulb obliterated
core unsheathed
one grasps a tangible nothing
realizes an intangible something
The ethereal
apparently caged
behind the skin
remains forever free -
The indestructible Atman

Illustration by Simi Nallaseth.


More By  :  Rajender Krishan

Views: 1489     Comments: 12

Comments on this Poem

Comment Excellent meaningful philosophical poem . After many layers we can reach the true essence of our being. Bravo ... Pili.

Pili Pubul
17-Jul-2013 13:52 PM

Comment This one is indeed good. Poetry appeals better when it is evolved from concrete to abstract than the other way round . Reminded me of the famous poem by Wislawa Szymborska
quoted below

The Onion

The onion, now that's something else.
Its innards don't exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood
fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.

Our skin is just a coverup
for the land where none dare go,
an internal inferno,
the anathema of anatomy.
In an onion there's only onion
from its tip to its toe,
onionymous monomania,
unanimous omninudity.

At peace, of a piece,
internally at rest.
Inside it, there's a smaller one
of undiminished worth.
The second holds a third one,
the third contains a fourth.
A centripetal fugue.
Polyphony compressed.

Nature's roundest tummy,
its greatest success story,
the onion drapes itself in its
own aureoles of glory.
We hold veins, nerves, fat,
secretions' secret sections.
Not for us such idiotic
onionoid perfections.

— by Wislawa Szymborska
tr. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
from View With a Grain of Sand

25-Nov-2012 06:36 AM

Comment Interesting!

Jennifer Marie Bayer
13-Nov-2012 01:29 AM

Comment Though personally don't believe in the indestructible 'atman' I like the way the idea expressed. Wonderful

12-Nov-2012 09:11 AM

Comment Lofty spiritual message in mundane! Elegant!

11-Nov-2012 21:21 PM

Comment YES......

Behind the 'ethereal- cage',
the indestructible core

Your peeling-
many a time,
tolerating the odour and streaming tears,
is to bring out the core.

Congrats!You have brought out the core. WELL DONE.

Raja Mutthirulandi
11-Nov-2012 21:08 PM

Comment Beautifully expressed philosophical truth!

Pavalamani Pragasam
11-Nov-2012 11:13 AM

Comment Wah! wah! Rajendra ji,

I was caught in the visual because it was rather suggestive and so when I came to the end, it was a powerful wake up call!

The onion, is both a sensual object as well as spiritual and your poem illustrates it beautifully.


Julia Dutta
11-Nov-2012 09:18 AM

Comment 11 Nov. 2012
TO: Mr. Rajender Krishan

Reminds me Tagore's following interpretation of Upanishads in his poem on prayer to the Sun-

" he who is great, sees the truth instantly beyond all impediments. That is why there is a gulf of difference between their thoughts. When everybody is in chorus that they see only darkness, he can assert- “Beyond all darkness I have seen Him who is great and luminous"-. (Upanishads)

Concluding lines of the poem-

"At your splendor’s brim
Humans sighted their nobility supreme –
That from age to age you did compile
By the Persian Gulf, Himalayas or Nile.
Said they – “Sons of the Immortal we are –
Did vision that Superman
From beyond the darkness, blazing golden.”

Rajat Das Gupta

Rajat Das Gupta
11-Nov-2012 08:15 AM

Comment spiritually uplifting; as one does ones work with patience, one gains insight. Even a humble onion has vital lesson to tach, beautifully brought out in your poem. thanks

mamta agarwal
11-Nov-2012 07:19 AM

Comment Nice...very nice

G Swaminathan
11-Nov-2012 07:15 AM

Comment excellent poem

11-Nov-2012 04:32 AM

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