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, August 10, 2011


I only wanted one thing and that was, just once,
to lie across the massive nest of sticks and twigs.
Stretch my body out and see how big it was.
So in dark cloud of the night I climbed up, pulled
myself over the branching rim and without a sound,
laid down and slept.

The sun slips through clouds slowly enlarging
the last day. A day like all the others, it opens like
my hands. I look down at them marveling how
feathers have begun to sprout from all the fingers.
I lift my dark head, shine the bead of my eyes
to the beaches, the sea. Listen while the sun cracks
open, spooning lemon through the woods, over my back.
I stretch out one leg, open and close my bright talon.
Unfold my right long oar of a wing it brushes over
my sister. I look but she's left and perches on the
babysitting tree glaring at her world. She is scary.
I love her. I sit up, stretch and bow to the day,
open the dark prayer of my wings. Shoot white
paint. Shake and ruffle out my feathers. Begin to count
them, sliding my beak along the stems. Comb and tuck.
Thirsty lungs open and suck in the salty air. I shake
my lovely feathers again. Then I get an idea. My crop
is a small echo and my belly seems large. Lake a cave
of little voices. I scan the horizon, listen for the spear
of our parent's call. Across the beach they sing a different
song. It rises like a hunger leading us away. Without even a
brief hook in the wind, or changing slant of sun coming
down the old stump. Without a thought really, I reach into
the sky, pull it towards me. Clear the jagged branches. Sweep
upward. Alexandra comes too and we simply follow, Mom
has gone and Dad brings us along. The salmon singing tell
us it is time. If you look over whale rock to the right beyond
Hidden Cove, above the trees leaning down, see our dark
shadows go smaller and smaller. I point my face towards
what I do not know. Alexandra says it's rivers in the north.
My heart like a pulsing stone feels like it could burst
and I sing and sing my joy and trepidation. Alexandra
silently pushes wind, determined as her raptor heart dictates.
Steel and fire. Inside I have a small thought, I know she is
a little afraid like me but never shows it. We follow the large
wings telling us hurry, come quickly. Like burning meteors ,
night's falling river, the fish churn toward their memory.
Each salmon is a word, a benediction, the last gift. Even
before we get there we write prayers across the sky.

for fledglings David and Alexandra

c2011 T.L. Stokes (all rights reserved)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this poem for my beautiful boy, Terry. Love you.