If you ever lose heart and the earth seems as distant as stars fading into the noise of your busy mind, know this. That a tiny island exists in the blue hands of the ocean. That a tree grows upright into the salted clouds. That two eagles love each other enough to spend their lives greeting the morning sun together. That two eaglets stand in their nest, gazing at the heavens. Looking down to the forever ground. They eat and sleep and flap their wings. And one day in July, one by one, they will jump into the air. They will know the difference between existing and what is beyond. They will hold onto nothing. The hurricane will come, courage catching their pinions on fire, as they mount the wind, climbing ladders into realms of the invisible.

--T.L. Stokes

Friday, November 6, 2015

Starbucks on Tuesday

Starbucks on Tuesday

Wig wagging
the yellow lab
looks up at his owner
who wears a white half cap
and maroon runner's jacket
chatting with her friend
over pink tea
it pants hoping
to catch her attention.

A scent of pastries
sneaks out the door.
Yellow coat is waved away.

Earlier two round babies
bloomed from nests
of colorful blankets
their busy mother
shook two bottles
then aimed each into
their flower mouths.

She said, Sometimes I cry
and my two older sons
5 and 8 are helpful
but I miss them
since school started.
I wave away the bee
listening. One baby opened
one planetary eye
so I was quiet.

Another young mother
pushes a stroller
with a pink bundle
and two delicate sisters
one holding her book
crowd around
the baby reaching
to feel cream skin
tuck the blanket in.

Older people
mostly men
ride bikes or walk
in quickly pausing
to admire a baby
then order a drink
smiling from
newspaper faces.

Two women get up to leave
yellow coat laps his wide tongue
into a water bowl.

Each table holds a galaxy
a meteor flashes past stars
and planets circle
while over the roof
a single sun blazes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Songs of the Puget Sound


hens carried their round flouncy bodies
up into the coup,
chittering and cooing their sunshine happiness.

Something then moved out of the blackberries.
Little gift of wildness,
a cup of warmth
in a baby's coat

and hardly afraid.

The hens in bed told stories
soft so soft
to each other and the hidden moon.

So I sat on the porch of the hen house
glad songs welcoming ears,
and the rabbit,
no more than a few weeks old,
nibbled the tender grass.

There is a time at the end of the most perfect day,
when the sun has been your companion,
when the air lingers full of the first few days of summer,

when there could be no more perfection
and then comes a movement,
the brown innocence,
quicker beat of heart
so far from your own.

To rise up on tiny bones and wonder,
to grasp a green stalk
taller than your head,

with no hands. Yes, no hands.
And I imagine how small its ivory
grinding as the grass and seeds slip
down into that bit of darkness.

Imagine what may come later in the long night
of larger hungers. And I wonder if it lives in fear.
And if not is this called innocence.

The ears turn to gather from this way and that
a warning, yet the air is warm and heavy. Old moon
hasn't yet climbed into its fields of stars.

And the hens, fall silent.
I leave the seed eater as we have
both reached our satisfaction.

A day like that
one hardly knows
how to write about.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

How the Boy Saved Dragons

What little voice

in darkness calls
from behind the stars
where once were walls.

From a far off land
of dragon dance
where wars were ended
and peace began.

I hail the silence
I hail the song
into crowds of hearts
the victory won.

for Tyler Robinson & Imagine Dragons

c2014 T.L. Stokes (all rights reserved)

Tyler Robinson Foundation

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Life Unavoidable

This day I will arise from sleep like the sun
from the ocean
I will climb into the day
with the sun under my arm
and the moon below me
we will dance oh bright happiness
oh deep beautiful you
we will swim in rivers of spring's last flowers
take my hand
come with me

In all things we will allow the heart to wander
the child beside us
holding all things
and nothing
willing to walk in pain
unafraid of falling
for to love is to risk all things
I have found loving you.
Wounded at times by compassion
the thought of losing you
the dark how it crowds in
just as floods carve away
at fields and mountains.

Yet, I would love you
in spite of all these things.
To be alive and to feel is the spirit's passion.
Unavoidable. Thrilling.
Real. Yes, real.


c2014 T.L. Stokes (all rights reserved)

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Poem at Stirring: "Reading Marvin Bell"
by T.L. Stokes

Click here:

Stirring - A Literary Collection

Beautiful photograph by Clay Wardlaw
and interesting new work this month at Stirring.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mandela's Mouse

Mandela's Mouse

I believe you will slip away from us
when no one is looking,
hungry world, unfinished children,
one night like any other.
No fist rants the door,
no flash of light
no bars left on windows;
unnoticed, the idea of time
removes itself
like a mouse,
after finishing the last speck
of the last crumb of bread,
without turning
or needing a thing
tiny feet
hurry away.

We never know
where your eyes will open next.

Once slipped
from antiqued pages
the note falls,
yet the book of your body
does not miss the words
of your life.

Nelson before you go
tell me a story.
Please don't say a word.
Let me sit in the chair by the bed
the room filling with lightning bugs, moths,
an old eagle.

The rattler’s tail shivers
and drums in the distance.

You let go of us
as your breath seems to be something we need
more than you do.

You stand with the sheet around your shadow
burned by a soft light
as with all good ghosts

gone while the getting is good.

by T.L. Stokes

c2013 T.L. Stokes (all rights reserved)