My brilliant friend, Mary, is retiring this year. She has taught literature and advanced placement English at my school for over 20 years. She is, without out doubt, one of the most incredible writers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. This evening, our writers group met and shared and laughed and celebrated this marvelous woman. Here is my ode to you Mary Onions:
Ode to an Onion
SEASON of Keats and Silas Marners
Close bosom-friend of the maturing teens;
Conspiring with her how to peel the layers and bless
With verse the open pages of retirement that round the head with dreams of solitude.
To bend with words the eager minds of youth
And fill their heads with herbaceous seeds of inspiration;
To swell the bulbous plants of their heads
With the sweet kernel of knowledge; to set the budding minds more
And still more later as treatment to the wounds of departure
From the safe, sweet, warm of High School.
Until they think these days will never cease
For an Onion’s career has o’er-brimm’d their tuberous thoughts.
And left them ever full.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy stacks?
Sometimes whoever seeks the fistulosum abroad may find
Thee sitting carelessly in thy library chair
Thy curious eyes darting from page to page;
Or on a half-reap’d recliner fast asleep
Drowsed with the fume of whiskey and sausages while thy hook
Thine waxy husband’s interest in a script-based puzzle or two.
And sometimes like a cepa thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across the pages of Shakespeare or Austen
Or by a pint of beer with a patient look
Thou watchest the lazy breath of retirement pass hours by hours.
Where are the songs of teens? Ay where are they?
Think not of them thou hast music too
While the powerful aroma of solitude doth seep through paper thin layers,
Thine eyes, blink back the odorous stench of essays
Then, in waitful stupor, the small gnats mourn the 30 year routine;
And full-grown sorrow burrows into the putrid holes of regret.
But then, the crickets sing; and now with treble soft
New red bulbs break earth and begin to grow ever toward the promise of sun
Mild flesh: The Pearl, The Red, The Semian, The Sweet
Signaling the song of new chapters yet to be written.