Opening to warmth and light
Growing near my parents’ new home, as well as in our own backyard, are magnolia trees–with their gardenia-like, sweet-smelling blossoms about the size your two hands make, when you shape them into an open cup. The first line of this poem belongs solely to these magnificent flowers. The second line describes the main forces that produce these beautiful blossoms. Once we see the poem’s last line, the marriage metaphor works. The beauty of ourselves in a loving relationship blossoms, when we remain open to warmth and light. These things, in natural fact, make us more open, more sweet, more fully ourselves, which, in turn, enriches our time together with each other.
This poem is as much an invitation as a commemoration. It honors my parents’ sixty years of marriage, while inviting all of us at the table to remember the grand flowering of the magnolia. Line two uses the progressive form “opening,” rather than the past “opened,” in order to strike this inviting tone.
The last line uses the verb “show” to make the point that feeling love is one thing, but showing it–so that others see it–adds extra light and warmth. Unless I am a mushroom or a creature miles deep on the ocean floor, I need these things–just like everyone else. I need to show them, too.