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

Monday, June 20, 2011



A miracle is something that is impossible
which happens anyway. It is the mystery
from places we cannot see or touch.

When my little daughter,
small sparrow in the snow,
was dying,

my mother-heart
was a picked flower

and each petal of it
was pulled and left
in a pathway
as I walked in such dark
lands, unnamed,

At the last step as I held
her soft and fading hand,
she said softly,
"I want to go home.
Is is morning yet?"

I walked to the boundary line
between her life
and the next.

The land that lies across all of our seas
which we will never see until we give
our eyes away.

I swam with her in the wide, cold sea.
When I awoke I was on dry land,
called to her side
in the morning.

The nurse, looking like a shorter angel,
waved me closer. "Come look!" she said.

And Heather's eyes were open like roses
and her breath came on its own.

My legs disappeared for a moment.
My heart grew large.
And all around us, like snow
coming down,
was a feeling of awe,
the moment of time when
there is nothing

but the purest presence
of something whispered

like a miracle.

for Heather

c2011 TLStokes (all rights reserved)

Sunday, June 12, 2011



Color falls from the sky
in small increments, like waves
fading. Mother comes to the nest.

For three nights she was away.
David, too small to understand,
cried and slept.

I dreamed mother was not well.
A heavy stone pulled my heart down
and fish swam in the wrong direction.
In the room of scientists,
as the next day came

hearts were kites flying.
Of headless trout and twisting midshipmen
the eaglets happily fed.

Ma and pa took turns swooping in
and away. The waves moved over
the rocks. Wind sang songs to the trees
who held handfuls of little birds.

What I am trying to say is this.
That the sun caught fire and burned the sea.
Wildflowers danced in fields of grass.

And mother, after pa tidied the nest
and tucked the eaglets in,
moved toward the center.
David, always eager for her warm

moved under. Most of him too big
to fit, his head well into the world of feathers.
And Alexandra, bigger and braver
leaned in too.

Mother gathered them up to her heart,
and the sound of its beating,
and let me try to find the words,
--fed them from the universe,

calmed them. Sang to them.

Like the song of all spirits who love,
and all mothers, who somehow
always know the words
to the little sleeping song.

for Mother Hornby

c2011 T.L.Stokes (all rights reserved)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Trail of the Sun

Last breath of the night
holds the sea in a black cloak,
we rise dragging strings
of sleep from our elbows
and feet.

I climb down the ladder
from the loft and fumble
for clothes while two women
wait at the door, ready.

We enter the salt air.

The young breeze lifts limbs
on father's tree. We walk
down the dirt road together
and above our heads

the eagles sing and call.
Are they greeting the trail
of the sun to their nest?
One mate calls to the other
who calls back and the notes
fly and fill our sky.

The vibration enters my heart
and all my veins and turns
them gold like the sun
so it seems like streamers
entering and decorating
cells with love
of the earth,

from eagles
to the sun and the sky.

c2011 T.L.Stokes (all rights reserved)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Missing the Boat


First in line at the ferry terminal
the only car in the wide gray parking lot.
I write by the windows while you buy
a scone.

We end one journey beginning another.
Like life and death, exciting,
sad and glorious.

My hair is full of eagle feathers,
your arms look like wings.

Our heads are slowly turning
white and the wind
has become something different.

Who knows whose ancestor
travels back to me. Whose message
is typed across a black wing?

Surely the Grandmothers
will of these verses
teach us to read.

for Idaho, with gratitude

c2011 TLStokes (all rights reserved)