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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan/my double vision

I wake up with Japan
like a window before me.
Rain from our sky
hangs on the tree's
goblet limbs
captured and still.
The unconfused
and spacious air
in Seattle grows darker
and more gray.
We are joined by waves.

I wake up with Japan
rising before me
her patchwork timber and steel
layered so it blocks the sky
and now a string of rescuers
crisscross becoming smaller
and smaller in the dark artwork
of what is left.

I wake up with Japan
and the rest of the world
reach their hands out
groaning and we can't stop
speaking of the day the earth
and how the heart
of your island
feels heavier
as the days pass
like a weary sun
passing the frightened moon.

I wake up with Japan
as each day she opens her eyes
remembering this isn't a dream.
I am hungry for photographs
to bring me closer,
to bridge the water,
to stand closer,
to do something.

I am hungry to dig my hands
down deep and pull something alive
up, anything, anything at all.

I wake up with Japan
and see as if on transparent silk
two worlds, transposed one upon
the other.

And what I touch here
I touch there.

Thus I hold a part of her fissured earth
and greet compassion, pouring
like the endless waters,
the entire atmosphere
gathering around the blue sphere
tilting slightly off center,
spinning, spinning,

and this red pain in my heart
and yours begins to heal
what was flung open
and washed,

and surprisingly,
somehow meticulously
will sew every last
lost thread together.

I wake up with Japan
typing the song as it comes
to me. Sky deepens out the window
and thunder shouts
in her mysterious

c2011 TLStokes/Floodwaterphotography (all rights reserved)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I flip through the pages of photographs,
each detail, enlarging some, peering closer.
Trying to find a person, a puzzle of limbs,
lost in that great moment. I find no one.

Another day goes by, the silver drift
of spirits rise like weightless clouds
of life, spent and flying away from us.

They found an old man clinging to his rooftop
as the house floated away and plucked him
off. It was the first good news I heard

A long boat comes to land filled with toddlers
and one teacher.

More people will be found. Alive, yes alive.
Each one you will count and write about
my heart says.

There will be enough time to gather
what is left of the dead. The coats, dresses,
the torn shirts. We will have time to give
them ceremony and prayers. For now,

we begin the search. We will not stop
until the last hope is slowly and
meticulously uncovered.

for Japan

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I tried to write a poem about the children of poverty

Speak softly around the children
of homelessness. Their bellies
keep them awake by night. If you
have more than enough, take them in.
If you are brave enough, listen.
Children go to school with no shoes,
not enough food for too long,
sleeping in the family van or
a motel. I can't speak further of
this, my eyes are drowning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hallway between Storms

Here in the hallway
between storms
she waits. Ruffled up
occasionally calling
experiencing her breath
and the wind off the edge
of the branch circled nest.
Here we wait for the white
prize, the emblem of their
next generation. The hungry
mouth still silent and forming
it's first sound. What word
will come forth from such
a womb, circular and
without color, an eye,
an idea, a birth in

March is the bald eagle's egg
laying time, between the wildest
storms comes an urging to give
life as a packaged celled jewel
with sleeping eyes within
the center of it's dark night.