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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the watchers in the year of the eagle

It was the year of the eagles,
across the sea an island
comes apart, waters moved like trains,

mountain clouds rose
and swept God's hem dropping
cinder and jewels.

The earth settles back into her
circular wisdom holding seasons
like kites in the wind.

The watchers count eagles
shiny in the rain. Gold in the first
daylight ribbon. White-headed,
massively winged. On island, in gardens,
over hatchery ponds. We huddle along with them,
breath next to breath.

Guardians. All of our thousand eyes
sweep nests. Places where the white
gems are laid, oh fragile cages.

Then quickly symphony of flight machine
screams and feathers dashing away with a life,
an eagle is torn and machine falters.

This is when the violin plays.
This is when the young in the great nest
listen. This is when the people reach in
and wrap them in a safe darkness.
This is when the father returns.

And my heart turns to the violin
and I sing and sing. The father's white head
lowers and looks at the woven limbs,
circled twig place of quiet.

I take the violin and play while we wait
and then away his wings take him, clutch at the sky.
Listen, far away. He can almost hear
his lost mate,
her feeling, the leaving,
the wanting to stay.

His eyes gather up silence, stars,
as he flies the burnt umber fields,
and I hold out my hand

for pieces of his wounded heart
like small white tufts
blown free.

in honor of the eagle family
of Norfolk

c2011 T.L.Stokes (all rights reserved)

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful T.L. Stokes - what a wonderful tribute not only to the Norfolk eagle, but to all eagles.