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

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Boy as an Owl

“Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your daddy's here,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,”

Beautiful Boy by John Lennon

I sit in the room with two windows
waiting for the moon and the poem,
and I look into your eyes and see us
in the darkness.

Beautiful boy.

If I am light now and yellow, you are all the shades of black,
the back cover of the book, the stolen joy,
the owl in the night perfectly folded.
Sapphire beads and shade
in the valley of its face.

Though I know you didn’t fit
in a world of distraction,
the hidden rules,
you gloried in the forest of your existence,
late elbowed together with your own kind,
flying silent.

You moved in a realm
to which we were blind;
shut doors you knew
and didn't know were there.

Where are your hands now Terry?
Laying all the letters down
in lines of neat and ordered soldiers,
smoothing the paper as it slides through the press.

Ink defining tips of fingers soaking up the scent of it.
Eyes darker, wider set.
You shuffle in and out of rooms
perfectly at home as a foreigner,
while ink of the dreamtime
writes an explanation.

The sky is falling with the sun into the brim.
Here lies the vastness and horror of separation:
nine tenths of your life was a room
and no hallway to get there.

Going away was how you arrived and off
you've gone. Without a kind word,
“what a nice hand to hold”.

You slip from my marrow,
hasten your breathless feathers.
I sit on the edge of the bed on the anniversary
of you taking your life away,

and I don’t even know
that under our rafters
you sit by the lamp shade
on top of the bed post,

folding your speckled feathers
together like a book you’d like to give me,
or a song,

humming like owls do
when they’re satisfied,

…”beautiful beautiful boy.”

For the Spotted Owl we loved so well.

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