NARCISSUS

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I. You. I see you there
celebrating the moment

hunter of all things beautiful
but brief

with your bold and arrowed heart
pointing me towards the spring
of me

like someone alive
and not merely a husk
of barely remembered things

II. Do you see me too?

I am more vital
because of you

I want you, need
to pluck you

to have and hold you
but please tell me

Do you need my touch
or just my eyes?

Why now do you avert yours?

Is it that you love
how I see you
more than me?

III. I thought you were someone else

Perhaps you were me
all along

Perhaps you are someone else
entirely
hunting different things

You thought I was someone else
all along
hunting the same things

Perhaps we were both right

living in each other
as fragments

IV. When you die back
with the break of spring

then, only then,
will I really see you,

then, only then,
will I pluck out
my own heart-eye
and let you be you

and I will be me

If the season cannot
be honored
then memory will be both
a blessing and a curse

and perhaps
on some bright morning
in another life
we will finally meet

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Narcissus is the Latin name or botanical name for daffodils, and daffodil is the common name for all members that fall under the genus Narcissus.

SAVAGE PULSE

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A savage pulse
asking of you
more than you think
you can handle

lives here.

Did you expect to love the world and not die daily

from the sundry shocks
both sharp and subtle?

Did you expect to find
on the edge of every granite cliff
a pillow for a weary head?

A sweetness in every mouthful bit off from the big loaf?

Surely the wintered sun
and rough and gripping tide
disabused you
of such sentimentality

Yet surely the same sun
and the lunatic arriving
of a faultless sea
taught you, Beautiful Gambler,
how a lover shows up
with an unconditional caress

But if you’ve yet to find
the capital C in celebration
in the seed of each moment

strap the searchlight
around your ribs

and shuffle like a crescent moon
over all your little resistances

your feet becoming wiser
with each toe-stub
in your heart

until they become sandpipers dancing at dawn
around the fingers of the sea
knowing exactly where to go

Tiny Vase

D02E32BA-CFEF-4E09-8043-AEA598B1BD2FI put all the not-speak
into the tiny little vase
and took it to the nearby faraway

All non-doings I done dug here
and put it under

One of many horizon-bent experiments asked of me
by the sun and moon
who only pretend to disappear

For when I am gold and grey
I want to return again
and exchange all my wealth
for this tiny treasure

So I may breathe silent
and silver
at least once full and slow
before I go
All fluent into the nothingness
or the everything

-Ryan Van Lenning

No Room In These Wings For That

822EBBBA-930D-4F97-89E6-C8C64E940A6DThey say as long as it’s not
a poem about Nature
or god forbid,
Love

Whether in its burning purity
Or complex demands

So don’t expect nightingales here
I’ve turned all my warblers into ravens

and put in an order for dread
and the heavy metals of a world bent on celebrating gross things

and thrusting swords at all
the Others
it thinks lives out THERE

But it boomerangs back as a dark bird singing sonnets

Summing up the kerneled heart
inside the fist

I climb down the tree
watered with freedom
seeding uncompromising truths in the shade

Shaking out eternities of tunes
from the raven-lit branches

The opposite of love
isn’t hate
but indifference, it says
and there’s no room in these wings for that

That skunk of a Raven squawks something about how
every tune is a love poem
even the damned curses

Every word a wild word
and challenges me to defy him

How can I argue with someone like that?

NO LESS A WEB

DD8C11F7-13BF-4FB4-A37D-3C3612D9F0EANo less a web, spider spun
these words around you weaving run
like threads so fine,
but not less strong
to bind within you magic songs

And here a peek behind the art
a secret with which no spider parts
Yet I, a weaver of open source
share a bit of that conjuring force

First, if this be an ordered tune
or lastly, if you want the end so soon,
is a look, or rather, a vision met
upon which your design is set.

See clear, my casters, an image bold
with which your sticky tales told
float it in your inner sea
and with all your eyes, like spiders see

Make of yourself a giant ear
and gather all the things you hear
and let love be greater than deepest fear
and you’ll find that threads appear

Ask what it is you want to net
with ever spinning spidery set
you just might catch it yet

The next of this cannot be taught
but without which your art is naught
’tis this: a certain certainty
and if it’s weak, the power flees

Thus flinging into nothingness
is what it takes, nothing less
With a Trust and no reason why
your filament will find its flight

Once it’s flung, that’s but half the spell
the other half is crafting well
circle ‘round and join the threads
and paint the image in your head

In between, a tip or three:
a spell, to weave, is both form and free

Take care to note what’s in the air
the sounds, the scents, the subtle flair

Threads are summoned from abdomen
but also from the wild winds
a gentle breeze will be your friend
a gusty gale will be your end
unless you surf that storm with ease
you’ll wind up in the web you weave

Without a form – the threads will fail
without freedom, the force is frail
so find the balance between the two
to catch the thing you wanted to.

Look at what other spiders construct
see what’s cast, and see what’s luck
Admire the patterns, see what’s caught
Look for angels and demons they fought

Study the sounds built into the spells
follow the lines of tales they tell

Look to the recluse, the widow, the wood,
but never get caught in the net of the should

Take what you can, as in a sly theft
but the strength of your web is bound by what’s left
after all of the threads from within are out cast
into the world to feast or to fast

That something so strange, something so rich
that deep design only you can pitch
that something so rich, so doubly strange
that things may be caught quite out of your range

And that is the gift of a magical song,
sung with the words of a web so strong,
that its effects are unknown in the light of the day
not until night is the power relayed

A final glimpse behind the weave
before we rest and take our leave

As silence is part a wizard’s gift
what’s not said will shape and shift
the space between the strands are there
to make designs in air appear
more luminous and boldly spun
as much for purpose as for fun

And as spiders in their patience sit
awaiting what their net can get
so our last secret of this webby play
will have to wait another day.

LOVE ON THE TABLE

9CAB1217-D9DB-475D-99F7-2C1E671F8612You recall a cabin
on the edge of town
in woods of alder and oak

There were big windows
on every side
and a porch stretched around
like a loose fitting belt
just barely keeping things in

sometimes it was a stepping stone to the world
and sometimes it was a moat keeping things out

You recognize it
because it was your house
and a life was built there
once upon a time

And on the porch you recall
there was an old table
crooked, but round and steady

And Love was on the table
resting shiningly

and whenever the front door cracked open
it flooded in like dawn

sometimes you noticed
other times not

Each morning you raced to all the Theres
trying to earn your belongingess
of an eager world
wanting proof

And when you returned later
the porch and the table
were still there

and when you cracked the door
to the home you built

sometimes you noticed
the light pouring in
and sometimes not

When dusk settled in
for its daily prayer

Love became the moon
illuminating parts of the cabin
that even the sun can’t reach

and flowed through the window
silhouetting a figure curled up
before the fireplace—
a dog or a wolf—
your memory isn’t clear

But then a particular morning came.

After a long, winter night—
that kind that is both cold and cozy
and full of memories and rest and safety—
a morning greeted you different
than others.

You remember because
the door wouldn’t close
and after a while you didn’t want it to close

and abhorring a vacuum
the light couldn’t help itself
and went swimming through
all the rooms

and instead of rushing to all
the Theres of the world
you paused on the porch
here

you noticed something out of the corner of your soul

And pulling a chair
up to that crooked table

you broke your fast
and had a morning meal
with Love
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One of 75 poems in RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul. You can get Re-Membering and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound, Link in bio.