WHAT I MEANT

A6DA9821-72FE-41A7-B35D-41CE351E61B8Meadow mint was meant to lend
its scent to me, was sent to me

as dawnly deer was here to leer
so near to me, so dear to me

and blackly bear had dared
to bare his soul to me,
but not solely he

For You, you aimed to tame
that ol’ bear in me,
just barely free

But I yet linger to bring
the wild things to you,
springing through

And long to meet
those wild feet you grew
that true myth in you

Is it wrong to want to greet
the Whole of you,
the very heart
of the be, not do?

All along, I sang the song
of deep belonging,
among the throngs

For I was built
to tilt my hilt
at windmills,
and not quit until

My heart aroar
with words as swords
as skilled as lords,
sing us toward
the secret chords

#ryanvanlenning

INELEGANT UNRAVELING

5919D585-52AE-4356-88AA-3D29267644CB
It’s not so elegant after all,
this unraveling.

It’s a mess
and full of grief
too deep to hold

but too old to keep to ourselves

Of course the confusion underneath
scrambles up us like a crab

and we try to keep it down
with endlessly creative distractions

but nonetheless it
pins us with its claws

The numbest poet in me wants everything beautiful

and that sells but doesn’t get you very far.

Addicted to redemption and the payday.

It’d be better sometimes to remain numb
Says the wound.

I’m no sun. Not even a moon
Lives in my face.

I’m not half the sky I used to be
Or half the dirt I want to be
So please forgive me when I say,

It’s over—
this pooling up and hanging on
to all the small hopes
and the big easy.

Lost. Loss. Less.

Ok, Things aren’t okay.

But of course, We can’t say that.

But that doesn’t mean what we think it means.

Okay isn’t what it used to be
and has a new face.

Go to the corner and collapse.

Oh how long can you hold it back?

Go to the corner and collapse
for gods’ sake.

Or if not for them, then for you.

And if not for you, then for the birds at dawn

or that small secret scrap of flame
that wants to find you
in the scintillating darkness

Wants to find the seventh generation laughing around campfires

We’re not getting anywhere spinning our wheels in knowing things.

Owning things.
You can always get more

Is a question now.

But can you stock up on meaning?

And love is just there.

It’s just there
behind every wall and eye

We might have to open death cafes on every street
If life is to return.

All this flooding
All the debris washing ashore
All this stumbling says
re-learn to cry and give up understanding.

It’s clear I can’t sell this, can’t even give it away—
but It’s not what we thought.

The unraveling is here.

Can we be brave
and let it move us?

I don’t mean brave
as in strong legs at the wall
with guns
and a righteous chin

I mean brave as in bare
as in play
as in pray
for our heart-eggs
to be broken open
by our own consequences

and the stories to hatch
that are worth hatching.

I mean stay still and collapse—it’s the only sane thing now.

And then we will be ready
to rise
and meet dawn
for the first time

without the knots
and armament

without the thousand stale stories

with nothing in your hands
and everything in your heart

ELEGANT UNRAVELING

56F9ECEC-A500-42A0-A1EF-DE77A4758AFB
What it calls for is an elegant unraveling—
more accurate
and stunning than ever before

sinking into an ambitious silence,
robust and cunning

Do something useful for a change—Listen
so deep and richly
the big ear wants to open through you, remembering all.

Be unfashionable
and tear the fucking ears off
the false notes.

Shake your feathers
and invite the fox and raven

Until oak reaches into you
and the deep waters gather.

Mud and Moon are your Elders.

You won’t get far without them.

Sing hawk-woman unto you.

Chant old man bear
and sister dawn unto you.

That old place in you beckons.

Unfold it into your bones
and drum your skeletal fragments
until they dance.

Then, like a true apprentice
pay the tuition for your truth

bartering for the next bold season
with the currency of your heart

letting an unreasonable love
claim you like a throne

and walk your blessed seduction home.
#ryanvanlenning

TOGETHER

5AA51C65-44BB-43AA-ADF6-B196C7D71CCE
Like the stars that dot
our mutual horizons

the world we used to inhabit
no longer exists

Though it continues
to emit its hard and soft signals
into our hard luck-struck I’s

and our eyes still admire the known constellations

yet we also feel somewhere
behind the breastbone

that we will belong each other anew into patterns
with bold new names

And that is why we are here

Doing this

Beingness

Together

#ryanvanlenning [photo credit Nasa Goddard 2007]

SOMETHING BEYOND SHINY HOPE

AF8A25BE-E588-479F-92FE-75FB5A27C5C6

I. It has no legs

I’m not going to speak
of shiny hope today.

It has troubled us for too long
tripping us down the stairs
leaving the bruises
that stick around.

We want to jump over truth
straight to hope
that we bought in the
shadow of our striving

It’s not surprising it has no legs
and collapses
as soon as it gets out of bed.

We can’t get to the other side
of things
without touching the ground.

II. Let us stop

To stop jumping
running
chasing
filling
filling filling
filling filling filling
filling filling filling filling

stop.

Then, if grief
and all its cousins
should arrive

trying to suffocate you
in your sleep
embrace them
like long lost loved ones.

They’ve waited so long.

III. When the lights turn off

Will we stumble?

Or will we have learned
to believe
in our own breathe
and the dirt under our feet?

Will we have practiced
how to say hello?

All the beautiful things await.

IV. Something sturdier than shiny hope

Your own dawn
looking earth in the face
saying, I remember you

Start crawling.

Mix the kernel of your true heart—
that improbable spark
in the vastness—

with the clay of where you live,
deep with dreams.

#ryanvanlenning
—————————————————————————————
Included in the new collection ‘Silence Begins Here.’ That and my collection of love and erotic poetry, ‘Wild Rose Hips’, and my polyRiverous celebration of rivers, mountains, and souls ‘Riverever’ will be out later this year. In the meantime, You can get RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul. and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound, Link in bio. Follow me for mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work. 🙏🌍🤠🦊🌲💚

TASTE ITS EVERYTHING

1D902E64-8048-476D-873B-4ED30D2281C0
I accept on my palate,
wide-as-Shasta,
her lips,
all lips inside and out
on my robust tongue

Yes her sharpest
and softest needles

Yes her wettest petal
of wild sea and copper

Banishing shame
beyond the mountains,
too tame voices of others
no more

Yes my endless curiosity,
my fathomless appetite,
my vast arousal by—for—with—
the world

I want to taste its everything