FACTORY MEN

55F5AA90-8296-4653-85D1-DFBF45A81778A poem about my dad & me, our different professions and ways of being in the world. I guess it gets at my struggle both to live up to him, and struggle against him-that universal archetypal drama. My dad worked at a factory* that made engine component parts for most of his working life, which put a roof over my head and food on the table. On Sunday’s too he got up early, “What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?”**

Thank you dad for everything.
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By the factory clock he walked
in mustache, flannel, Levi’s jeans
to cut & measure engine parts
and perhaps himself it seemed

With that a man a living made,
his son am I in different trade

What labor can a father see
within a forest poet’s verse?

Do I lay my lines less shaped
than steel pistons driving force?

Are words less needed than the steel
to make the world’s wheels whirl?

Which is more—elusive words, or
the driving engine’s massive roar?

The car was first a dream of man
Before the iron hot was poured

No less the word that’s first in mind
Before it lands upon the page

To do whatever poems can do
To guage whatever words can guage

And so the valves they rise and fall
How well depends on how they’re cut:

Scent of oil, scent of ink
One of pitch, one of grease
One machine, the other mud
Both take their share of blood

Even Rilke’s father wanted
A son to be a civil clerk
An honest job with honest pay
But what if he had had his way?

No sonnets or the elegies
Crafted in his atalier
No letters on a poet’s plight
Or other gems that he would write

If ‘a fact is the sweetest dream
That labor knows’*** by his own hand
Then sweetest dream in poet’s mind
Becomes a fact by poet’s pen

If strained relations seem to be
Between the metered form & me
Between the father & his son
It’s because of how it’s seen
This world of facts, how it’s sung

To craft a final form or shape—
What tool of note can you name?
It takes as much of “be” as “do”
To make a poem come to you

Is a stanza much less a craft
Than an engine component part?
Does my meter measure less than
that which makes a motor start?

Is labor not paid, work at all?
And if not work, then what’s it called?
Can you eat a poem, make it tall
To live inside its flimsy walls?

The woods are where I live & walk
Set to quite a different clock
Yet in my factory daily dream
In mustache, flannel, Levi’s jeans

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*Factory ultimately derives from Latin roots meaning Fact, maker, and to make, to do, to perform.

**What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?” Is from Robert Hayden’s Those Winter Sundays.

***the line ‘a fact is the sweetest dream
That labor knows’ is from Robert Frost’s Poem ‘Mowing’

Inner Wilderness Work

4689267C-2493-4318-8EDA-2F702B643B6B.jpegI love the work I do! I just finished another 2-hour Earth-rooted mentoring session with a new client. It is such an honor to be able to help provide a safe container for Whole Self exploration and witness the soul journey as people come into deeper belonging to themselves and nature. It’s gonna take each of us becoming our full selves and sharing our gifts to transition in this time of the Great Turning. The beautiful wild coastal landscape evoked the inner tide and walking at one’s growing edge.

Trusting your inner guide. Courage to take meaningful action. Creating Ritual for marking transition and celebration. Finding your own flow and rootedness. Leaning into the hardest spaces. Connecting to the inner child/healer/masculine/feminine. Clarifying your purpose. Dancing on the growing edge. Own the shit parts. Cultivating facets of the whole self from the four directions. Shedding old stories that no longer serve. Deepening your ecological self.

These are some of the things I live for!! Like anybody, I have a lot to learn, but I love holding space, deep listening, and gently guiding. 1-on-1 work is about a third of my @wildnatureheart work (the others are reconnection workshops and Wilderness trips-and the Wild Nature Heart Academy soon). One of my specialties is facilitating a series of inner/outer wilderness sessions, culminating in a solo wilderness ceremony that we co-create.

If some of these themes resonate with you and you’re curious about working with me, drop me a line at ryan@wildnatureheart.com, I’d love to have a free chat with you. Everybody who works with me over several sessions also receives my two earth poetry books. I currently have 1 in-person spot available (in Humboldt County) and two remote (via video chat) spots available. Find out more about working with me in 1-on-1 Earth-Rooted Mentoring/Inner Wilderness Guiding.
-Ryan @ryanreturntotheearth

THE THRUSH’S ANSWER

38FA1E49-0084-45DD-A519-AA431BD46EA3The Thrush’s answer ushers in
the last of daylight’s questioning

In ever-widening loops he throws
his singsong down, and finally flows

through the finest forest fingers
and in my old ear-mind lingers

Dissolving all the daylong haste
into the slow of dusk’s embrace

We catch ourselves in melody
for there’s no place we’d rather be

I’m steeped in his voiced infusion
a moment stopping all confusion

Leave behind all fret and furrowed
brow with no thought of tomorrow

With each bright measure, each long lilt
I’m stitched into the biggest quilt

Pouring out his full throat woodsongs—he answers my most ancient longings

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES (4/4)

CBDFD6B6-338F-4827-B105-40164A345D57Yes my mistakes, my habits unclean, all my petty hooks,
unrequited desires,
indecent hungers,
narrowness of vision.

My ignorance and vast egoism,
my ungoverned impulses,
flinging me into danger
as much as into joy.

My not knowing,
and my knowing well enough
but still doing wrong
my indebtedness,
my unearned privilege
my greed and uncompromising
dark devils paining the world.

The grief I carry still,
the grief I caused
the inflictions on your heart,
on the water,
on the living soil,
on plants and on the animals—
Oh, I too have waged brutal wars.

But also, to hold these
with the widest wings outstretched.

To ring my bones with flesh
yes good stomach and butt adoring
my athletic thighs,
both resting and pumping
gliding my hands in love
my well-worn knees and feet.

Yes, to my manly feet
my sensitive feet
my dancer’s feet
my wild feet

sauntering past all the gates
tipping my hat to the guardsmen
jumping across boulders

walking beyond approved forms
playing footsie with water
with you under the table
and no one has to know.

To walk the world like a madman
or like a man madly in love

To fling love unwisely
sometimes indelicately,
sometimes deliciously,
to throw it in iridescent loops
in ever-widening circles—

Oh, what a beautiful heart!
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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 poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart  for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES 3/4

B4203AC4-4661-4A54-86AE-BFFB24C24482I drench myself in passions, overreaching and inebriate
alloyed with all the minerals
all the drops of things

Tasting the wild plum,
blackberries boisterous and free
Yes salt and fat, sweet red wine
and water
spicy chiles and bitter wild mustard

I accept on my palate wide like Shasta, my robust tongue
her lips, all lips inside and out
yes her wettest petal
of wild sea and copper

To banish shame
beyond the mountains,
slanted voices of others no more.

My endless curiosity, my vast arousal by—for—with—the world

To greet the aromas with my superior nose:
buckeye husks, hay, cut wood and lavender, cedar and sage
as much as rose and cinnamon
pheremones and falling leaves
garlic and cut grass,
the journey-work of the stars.

To have fallen in love,
to have risen in love
the unlikely comraderies
the felt connections

to befriend the lowliest creatures
as well as those that soar
equal to me the caddisfly larvae
and falcon,
the sand toads and beetles no less
than dolphin
the unexpected grace of egret
sliding over my head—
like him, I am miraculous.

My exquisite ears
swimming in the symphonies
of the world
the songs and strings
and heavy beats
the raven’s croak,
the Lightning crack
the creek, gentle and roaring
as good as my twin.

Your singing and soft cry,
and your exasperated cry—
yours and yours.
Theirs.

-Ryan Van Lenning

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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 poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheartfor my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES (2/4)

6C54A95D-FAE1-4834-93D1-E17F7F97EB47Best of all to caress
play, pinch, seize,
explore, invite all
the world with these infinite fingers

sensitive, lined and lithe
touching the surface of things
the uncountable textures
the skins, the contours, forms and shapes,
the soft and hardness of the world
the slick and silky, scaled, slimy,
bumpy, coarse, and grainy—I welcome them into me

The sand falling between them
the roughness of redwood,
the silk of madrone
the granular solidity of granite
the thin wisp of alder leaves leaping into fall
the delicate racemes of pink flowering currants in spring

Or the thin cylinder
of her neck
the contour of her waist, the line
from breast to magnificent hips
to her delicate butterflies,
the grand horizon
and my own hard warmth

Yes, I am glad of my paws.

To laugh, belly and eyes
for all the joys
beauty beyond possibility
and yet it is
bringing tears to the surface of my bearded face

But also no less, the griefs
Unthinkable, unbearable, yet borne
yes, the world is cruel and dying—
unimaginably so.

Yet also, the world is being born
in each moment,
and is too kind—
unexpectedly so.
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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 poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheartfor my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.