Star Magnolia : Poetry of the Star Magnolia
"Candid soul, unstained,
Wide open to the sky, and unafraid,
On your lucid white
shines purer light,
As if the sun himself to you had prayed"
-Mary Owen Lewis (1931)
This poem speaks to the beauty that is the star magnolia. It often has white flowers, thus the illusion to unstained, which reminds me of purity. The line “open to the sky” also sends this image of purity to me as if the flower is opening its many “arms”, petals, to the heavens. Lastly the idea that the sun would pray to the flower gives it a heavenly ideal. This poem beautifully exhibits the blurred line between trees and spirituality.
“She runs among whistling leaves; I hurry after;
She dances in dreams over white-waved water;
Her body is white & fragrant & cool,
Magnolia petals that float on a white-starred pool . . .
I have dreamed of her, dreaming for many nights.”
-Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)
This poem has a similar ethereal feel to it as the poem by Lewis. The flowers of the magnolia are personified as a dancing girl in white. The description “runs among whistling leaves” sends an image of the gorgeous flowers emerging from the heavy green foliage to mind. This ethereal image is also supported by the idea that she is but a dream something unattainable. Once again the magnolia tree is used in an almost heavenly way.