Buds burnt by cold, they open anyway,
both pink and blackened, facing the spring.
Courage, not innocence: magnolia and cherry.
In this way, during this year, we try to pray.
Fragile and frostbitten, we bring
fists burnt by the cold, open them anyway
to the slightest sprout, faith delayed
but not detached, half-blooms drooping
innocence. Courageous magnolia and cherry,
yours is the incense we crave, the midway
in our dark woods that lead to sun,
beyond all that is burnt by cold. The only way
to wide sky, explosive in its bright display
of stars, is up. The heaven’s lights: night’s reflection
of your innocence and courage, magnolia and cherry.
Survivors of this year’s cracked bark, the deep decay
of trunks, you bloom above the dank hole rot brings,
fisted buds burnt by cold. Still, you open all the way
to courage, not innocence. O magnolia and cherry.
Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 13 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award), Begin with a Question (Paraclete), and Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts), an ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias—the prose collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); 4 children’s/YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist International Book Awards), and I’m Feeling Blue, Too! (a 2021 NCTE Notable Poetry Book)— Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry (assistant editor). See www.marjoriemaddox.com