This blog will be a place to post poetry written by people living with Alzheimer's disease. We will focus on poetry that is created as part of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. We will post information and news about dementia. We hope this blog is of use to the family members who have a loved one with dementia.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


This poem was created by the poets of Barelas Share Your Care, in Albuquerque, New Mexico and poet Michelle Otero on February 6, 2012. 

The model poems Otero used were “Ode to the Onion” by Pablo Neruda and “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

As this is part of the APP Spanish language project she also used the Dicho: "Del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho." (From the word to the act, there’s quite a long path.) 

Otero writes about the session, "Participants raised and lowered their arms like waves as we read 'The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls.' They laughed when I introduced Neruda’s 'Ode to the Onion.' I shared with them the names of other Neruda Odes ('Ode to My Socks,' 'Ode to the Dictionary,' 'Ode to the Apple') and then passed around five large onions I had brought in as props. Many remembered growing onions in their gardens.

We passed an onion as a sort of talking stick when writing our onion poem. Many of the participants rubbed the skin between their fingers or smoothed their hands over the round surface. Having something to hold and respond to led to some creative lines of poetry and inspired one woman to sing a song she’d learned as a child, changing the lyrics to fit our poem ('Lonely little onion in a turnip patch…').
This onion feels like a hand.
It’s a nice onion, as big as a baseball.

We grew lots of onions in West Virginia,
lonely little onion in a turnip patch

Está bonita esta cebolla.
¿Quién sabe qué diría?
En Cuahtemoc tienen cebolla, melon.

It feels very thin, almost like from a tree.

If this onion could talk, it would say,
“I’m getting so hungry, I’m gonna eat myself.”

It’s pretty because it’s so round.

If this onion could talk, it would say,
“Don’t eat me!”

The onion feels hard, it smells real bad.

Onions have a sweet taste.
They enhance the flavor of other foods.

It’s good when it grows.
It goes to the children.
I was following my children.

I don’t what you’d call this onion, but it’s round and cold.

If this onion could talk, it would say,
“If you take my outer skin off, I’m gonna make you cry.”

This onion feels like eggplant, smooth, really smooth.
I knew the names of all the onions. I forgot.

This onion’s name is Smelling Good,
brings back memories of my mom cooking dinner,
chopping onions, a good bowl of onion soup.
It smells like vinegar. And they cut it. It makes you cry.

Onion heals a cold. Just cut it open,
chop it up, put some Caro syrup on it and eat it.

Onions probably grow in the ground,
but that thing sticking out feels like a leaf
so maybe it’s a tree.