Until the Soil Of Me

1FD8C573-1ED4-4079-95F0-0D86FCF0A58AI was proven wrong once

Do you think I am done breaking down
the resistance?

A forest floor this rich doesn’t happen in a season

and I’m still hungry for dirt—
Obliterate the monkey bars!

I was told once by a half-farmer
to catch the worm I must become the early bird
and to join ‘em if you can’t fight em

I still don’t know if that’s
something to do with hard work
and capitulation
or with fishing and surrender.

That was my grandfather.

The other half was winter and whiskey.

It’s ok, all of us are split. All of me
is half of a half, and halves of those in turn

I’m filled with them all the way down
like turtles—
it makes of me many a continent
and the ocean washing over

Always building up
always breaking down
until the soil of me can grow
the whole truth

—Ryan Van Lenning
You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound, My book of mystical poems Silence Begins Here and book of love and erotic poems Wild Rose Hips will be out later this year.

A Sacred Bee Perhaps

4C183514-16AA-4930-AD18-C40856159B16Let’s look at desire from another angle
wide and gentle
pointing this way and that—
a Sacred Bee perhaps

all these urgent heart-mouths of the world
the intos and out-ofs
all the coming-together or not at all

open to one particular perfect pitch
reassuring hum and dance
buzzing Middle C
cunning and cryptic
or any note at all
releasing seed

hips sway and open
the magnolia blossoms
seek the wind
carrying pollen

water draws up
into the heart of things
and flows back out,
bravery is in the receiving
motion is gradual but earnest

a wet wanting. it wants
to heat things up
and be heated up
like sun warming soil hot
and cold seeds are everywhere
kernels of divine desire

smell it:
all this reaching out
and touching
everything’s a finger
a soft gaze
a dance
the length and the shape of a tongue
a vibration
a beautiful beast
abuzz and alive
so tender, so pure—
How can you not be in love from an angle like that?

Ryan Van Lenning
You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore or on Amazon or Indiebound, Link in bio. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poems, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. 🙏😀🎄💚

The Mystery of Those Ringing Bells

195C285D-16BD-4822-B875-ADD456318C57He’d heard a sound from ‘cross the land
Like bells with melodies that sing
It sounded like a woman’s heart
the color of the coming spring

He lit his torch, began his course
that long journey to find the source
of that murmur, so soft but strong
a bit like wildfire, a bit like song

It sounded like a couple drums
that could set the dancers free
It sounded like a humming thrum
Calling the mountains to the sea

He tuned his ears to beacons all
The beckoning from inside walls
her inner chamber sending calls
he followed and allowed the fall

So past her moat and past the towers
with their foreboding warning signs
He climbed the rampart for countless hours
with help from all the wild vines

He resisted not her labyrinth turns
as gravity pulled him down and in
Through all the halls with torches dark
leading him to her throne within

But she herself could not be found
He stood instead in empty room
And echoes of a lonely sound
came as if from royal tombs

Where was the Queen he’d come to meet?
The one whose song he’d heard so clear?
Had the Queen been overthrown?
What indeed had happened here?

Had the Queen been forced to flee?
Had she been abducted cold?
Or did she abdicate the crown
for fear she’d lose her soul?

Or was she yet within the walls
Her bells buried within the stone?
A signal not for men at all
but simple songs for her alone?

So owning only human ears
He took his torch and turned around
Yet still he wonders even now
what was that bright and wondrous sound?

The mystery of the ringing bells
that drew his aim and why he came
The Mystery of those ringing bells
Remained the only thing to claim

I’m the Slug Sweet as the Spring

EAEF32BD-7F4A-4DAE-837F-4716CEAADD46I’m debris that’s breaking down
And building up the wild woods

I’m naked as a rotting log
No things to prove or shoulds

I’m a thousand tiny broken twigs
That no one will ever see

I’m a croaking raven raving mad
Atop the Doug fir tree

I’m the shadow in the late March sun
Casting longer days

I’m the fern that fucks itself
And the spores that float away

I’m the wound that slowly heals
with the balm of time

I’m that would that would its could
if could could find its rhyme

I’m the spider building webs
Too thin for eyes to catch

I’m the bird that sings its songs
To urge its eggs to hatch

I’m the mud upon the feet
That brings the wisdom down

I’m the duff as thick as hearts
the man as hard as ground

I’m the lichen laying layers
Over eons in the wind

I’m the prayer in vernal air
On which all things depend

I’m the slug sweet as the spring
The warbler warmth that morning brings

I’m the countless needles knowing
Where to fall and seek the slowing

I’m the earth who’s always turning
and the sun who’s always burning

I’m the beast, the belly, and the biting
the bone and bile, the whim and wilding

The untold truth and whole damn suite
I’m the poem you have to eat


1AC220ED-E13D-4C93-9C41-2D9E2A1B0D16If it’s not you with one foot out
the door of the moment
It’s the moment ever fleeing itself
afraid of it’s own center

How we disappear when we disappear ourselves—we live nowhere
fleeing all the time. Never arriving
until Midnight
when old hair and petals become dirt
and fragrances fade even if
they never found a nose

How so many of the species of our love don’t make the endangered list until after they’ve gone extinct

How the infant wants whatever it can’t have
and rejects what’s right in front of it.

The last touch before the doings of the day
And it’s always the last touch
says the sun sliding into the sea

Even the thought-we-knews and all the familiar hearts so soon take leave
and memory walks around like a ghost
Stirring up the scattered wind once in a while

How even now, when spring barges in with its thousand clarion calls
and comings-out
one hears the sound of leaves dropping
on the other side
all the goings-under

No, we don’t want to hear it.

How everything is perpetual departure
but we, the fragile ones, we live
for the tender intervals
thin as new feathers

And perhaps if we’re lucky,
if we show up, we can bring
one bright and real caress
to the thing


(The title is taken from
a line in Rilke’s French poem Les Roses)


53A8350D-0F60-4348-B4DE-51C182E34954.pngI took gravity’s word for it
and followed her curves

All the way down and down
Because I was going for full-bodied texture
and the deep belonging

Past her moat
past the dark tower
with its foreboding warnings ringing

Because my ears were tuned
to the beacon beckoning
from her inner chamber
singing rich melodies
the color of spring

In there it’s wild but warm
with overflowing
like the sands of time
or the heart of the sea

Where a man might find a treasure
or drown

So gravity slung me down
through the seasons and I didn’t resist
her trickster turns—
I was going for texture
and the deep belonging

When spring finally unfolded herself
into my lavish lap
with its golds and upturned wing-tipped lips of light
I could barely catch a glimpse—Winter’s hands had drowned me good
and I lay still and deaf like driftwood

But before the lilac closing of the day
a treasure washed ashore
beside my fallen body
textured by the wild wind

We belonged now, as all things do,
to the brighter, bigger sea