Crocodile Onion Tears



“If you have ever peeled an onion, then you know that the first thin, papery layer reveals another thin, papery layer, and that layer reveals another, and another, and before you know it you have hundreds of layers all over the kitchen table and thousands of tears in your eyes, sorry that you ever started peeling in the first place and wishing that you had left the onion alone to wither away on the shelf of the pantry while you went on with your life, even if that meant never again enjoying the complicated and overwhelming taste of this strange and bitter vegetable.” ― Lemony Snicket

But the onion doesn’t wither away on the shelf when you leave it alone… it grows (hence the pic of an onion I did not kill and then blame for my tears, even though I never cry when I cut onions – yes, I’m that remorseless).

onion apology

“I refuse. I absolutely REFUSE to be an onion.” ― Louise Fitzhugh


There was more to this post… I deleted everything but what I left.

“Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” ― Carl Sandburg

And sometimes you simplify what might have been complicated… and you smile instead of weeping.


  1. That is a good photo of an onion.

    I resent the fact that some people are able to cry and not mean it.


    • Thank you very much 🙂

      Crying is a interesting physical reflex. In essence it seems to serve as a way to moisturise the eyes and sinuses, and also can be a potent stress release. I suppose it also works as a way to garner protection because if someone cries most humans tend to react towards the person crying in a protective way. It’s a quick way to get sympathy and change the dynamic of a situation. Basically the person crying has all the power for a bit and can sway their audience.

      It can even work on the internet through verbal communication. If someone says – I’m crying or I’ve been crying – we tend to react the same way we do as though we had someone in front of us crying, but we have no idea if the person really is crying or just saying it so we will be sympathetic and protective.

      I know there’s a technique which actors use to turn on the tears for their craft, so I suppose those who cry and don’t mean it use something similar. I suppose for some people doing this is easy because they have been doing it all their life and find that it is a powerful tool. Cry, and the world is at your feet, because most of us feel uncomfortable to a certain degree when someone cries, it unsettles us, and we try to find a way to make it stop, make things better for the person crying.

      I was taught at a very early age not to cry. Sometimes I wish I could, it would be useful.

      I’m guessing you’re thinking of someone in particular, who may have used the tears against you and won at their game. It’s intensely frustrating.


      • I hadn’t thought of that re the internet and crying, but I suppose it must be true.

        Perhaps some people who cry for manipulative purposes fool themselves enough that the crying isn’t really pretend.

        There have been at least one or two who have used that ploy, but then again, maybe the tears were real even if the behavior was manipulative. Who knows?


  2. You have the gift to reveal a goddess out of a humble thing .I love your meditation on the onion, it makes me think of the French expression “cœur d’artichaut”, although it focuses on its heart, which ultimately doesn’t exist and is inconsistent, while with the onion you unveil the inner core from the outer appearance. Very poetic.


    • I must admit I’ve grown fond of this onion. It’s been sitting on top of the fridge for a while and it started to grow. There’s something very poetic about that and it. It became a being with a mind and reality of its own. Its nature spoke to my own.

      I was mulling over a problem, and the onion pointed a way to a solution. It sort of said – stop dissecting things, especially yourself, see the whole, let the whole grow naturally.

      Or maybe I’m just crazy but I like this kind of crazy 🙂


    • Thank you 🙂

      Before I posted this, it was much more complicated and after I re-read it I thought – delete the extra and whittle it down to bare essentials and see what remains. That’s all you need. Which is kind of what I’ve done with my life, but life sometimes scuppers your plans and piles on extra stuff and the simplicity of it gets lost underneath the layers of complication. The onion reminded me of just letting things be and keeping it simple, and whole. Or something like that.


  3. love the onion & your interpretation…sometimes it is just simple. The peeled away crack going up the onions skin caught my eye. Natural beauty teaches us a lot.


  4. Here is a great poem by Carol Ann Duffy you might like

    Not a red rose or a satin heart.

    I give you an onion.
    It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
    It promises light
    like the careful undressing of love.

    It will blind you with tears
    like a lover.
    It will make your reflection
    a wobbling photo of grief.

    I am trying to be truthful.

    Not a cute card or a kissogram.

    I give you an onion.
    Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
    possessive and faithful
    as we are,
    for as long as we are.

    Take it.
    Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
    if you like.

    Its scent will cling to your fingers,
    cling to your knife.


    • Thank you Janeybgood! I loved it and you made me think of this:(Ursula I hope you don’t mind my invasion)

      Ode To The Onion by Pablo Neruda

      luminous flask,
      your beauty formed
      petal by petal,
      crystal scales expanded you
      and in the secrecy of the dark earth
      your belly grew round with dew.
      Under the earth
      the miracle
      and when your clumsy
      green stem appeared,
      and your leaves were born
      like swords
      in the garden,
      the earth heaped up her power
      showing your naked transparency,
      and as the remote sea
      in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
      duplicating the magnolia,
      so did the earth
      make you,
      clear as a planet
      and destined
      to shine,
      constant constellation,
      round rose of water,
      the table
      of the poor.

      You make us cry without hurting us.
      I have praised everything that exists,
      but to me, onion, you are
      more beautiful than a bird
      of dazzling feathers,
      heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
      unmoving dance
      of the snowy anemone

      and the fragrance of the earth lives
      in your crystalline nature.


        • I love bathos, especially when it is back to front. To take something which seems ordinary and climb a ladder of thought to a place where it is beautiful and may even be extraordinary. The poem does that with the onion.

          Thank you so much for sharing (the onion says thank you too)!


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