Irish Studies

Some onions are so sweet
You can eat them like an apple.
And so they come to me
Like lambs to the slaughter.
Hoping to find a core, a center,
A place to call home.

But as the layers of heritage peel back
They are shocked to discover
Their eyes burning with tears
And no single oak of truth
On which to climb.

Bitter onions of famine, conquest, and bigotry;
Sweet onions of song, poetry, and dance;
Sour onions of shame, sin, and body-hatred;
Green onions of hope, trust, and renewal.

And so I implore them:
Make a salmon leap of faith.
Onions such as these
Were meant only to stew in a recipe
Of compassion, wisdom, and hospitality.
Every layer reveals only questions
And the complexity of our choices.

If it's only an apple you seek
When you bite this particular onion
Do not be surprised
When tears and laughter
Walk side by side in your heart.

                         --Sean Williams