DE4B117B-AA3D-45F5-A427-9E5408A50F41Happy 200th birthday, Walt! 🙏Thank you, comrade, Oh Great Affirmer, for the worlds you up. Thank you, my soul friend, exquisite celebrator, you grand experimenter, you bold ecosensualist!

To put my western boots on
for the lonely descent
in deepening dark
to know it will be a long while
not knowing when the dawn will break—or if.

But also to know the strength
of my calves and limber heart
libidinous and unrestrained
to spring from these muscles my inviolate motion
sometimes slow, sometimes quick
but sure, steady, alive!
all my incarnate days

While I can, the movement of my savage and beautiful body, unalloyed
in bright unbridled kicks of freedom
my electromagnetic self commingling with my analog
and broken leaf self,
permeable and wanting all the worlds—oh what storms!

To love these shoulders strong
and pulsing, pushing to the edge
of my shadows
stretching then pushing further
turning the wheel in new directions

To make from these soft, brown eyes
all the beauty of the world
(and the ugly truth of it too)

Yes the shimmers, the hues,
patterns and spirals,
the ripples, the great green garments
of summer.
and endless faces, her eyelashes,
wisps of hair that won’t obey,
crooked drifters!

Just as the bones hold it together
In life as much as death
I say yes to new trees
and the burnt and ragged

Her form silhouetted
against the birth
as much as the dying day

Tails, petals, clouds & bubbles,
rosemary dawn
moonlight on silver ferns
falling leaves maroon and gold,
the swooning birds

To embrace with these well-known arms
friends and lovers
a few enemies at times

Yes even the stones, trees, yes,
even my own self.

-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 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.



DB58FC07-B97C-403B-BFA4-046B6D4FFCBANot intending to I found myself
bent over on hands and knees

face nose-deep
in the forest of pineapple weed
scooping up the sharp-sweet
candy coated sword of sensory delight

I was hooked by the nostrils—
that animal body I hang out with
was at it again
and asked me to come along
for the ride

It’s the way the dance arrives
like wind
from out of no where
possessing my limbs
making me do things
no one in their right mind
would do

but everyone in their right body
would do
with the flow of their own wind

It’s how I found a pair of antlers
and a pair of wings

My pair of legs
led me to a pair of bears
My pair of eyes
to a paradox

It’s how I met coyote
and the goose that laid
the golden egg
that hatched the gosling
that gave the feather
that’s in my crooked cap

It’s how the heart-shaped stone
at the bottom of the river
found its way to the altar
at the bottom of my well

It’s how the scent of her skin
still clings to me
and my tongue still testifies
to the taste of her everything

It’s why the palms of my hands have beautiful bruises from the drum slap
rhythming raucously
without a why

It’s how the seven new scratches that decorate my arms and legs
are like tattoo trophies
won from finding the view
of the mountain
with moons and stars on its shoulders—

Collateral beauty of a body
following it’s own path

So no, I don’t mind coming along
for the ride
when my body gets hooked
by the smells and shapes
of an endlessly rippling world

—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, Link in bio. 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.

Rainbow Eater

D9E7585D-BF89-4FE8-BE19-EE937F7BF0E7She wants to be inside them
and them to be inside her

So she eats the rainbow
with her eyes
her mouth
her fingers

savoring each hue

and brings red juice
to the redwoods
singing Hallelujah.

Her blood runs red
but her eyes run turquoise—
sapphires suffer envy
when they look upon them.

With them she sees the beauty in the bones
of the baby bovine

and stacks pine cones
to find the structure
where each one can be itself
with its edges
among a community

Which is what she yearns for.

And she remembers
that she already knows

and brings her way of seeing
to nourish the world.

Re-Membering is Here!

EC961FDD-EEA2-4EBA-AD0F-AC14440DF67AEvidently, I posted my 400th poem yesterday on my website. Geez I’m wordy! 🙂 But more importantly, I’m excited to announce that my book Re-Membering: Poems of Earth and Soul is live and on the market!

It has 75 earthy soulful poems in it. The book is dedicated to the Big Play, the Sacred Ear, and Deep Memory. I’m very proud of the result–it’s beautiful and accessible–but also extremely humbled that Wild Nature and Muse have been my intimate partners in creation throughout the last year or so. It was neat to read a poem from it for the first time this morning at our Wild Nature Heart gathering in the redwoods.

A little about the title, Re-Membering:

The how and why and when of the Great Forgetting is open to debate and not the subject of my book, nor even something that poetry might excavate. But what poetry might do is spark a remembering, to catalyze a spark in the dark that makes one gasp, “Oh, I remember that!”

Wild nature has been my intimate partner in creation. Wild nature is always there to jog our memory– to whisper, to sing, or sometimes to yell, “Hey, remember your childhood curiosity? Remember your creativity and your gifts for others? Remember your senses and your animal sensuality? Remember your great love affair with the earth?”

The poems in Re-Membering are about evoking that gasp of memory. To re-member is not only to recall the treasures that have been lost to forgetfulness, but about re-integrating the body and soul, putting the members of our whole selves back together, and to re-belong ourselves to the vast and beautiful and endlessly fecund home we call earth, to become full members again in the great earth community.

Gratitude and much love to everybody who has been there all along and believed in me and found inspiration in the poetry (you know who you are, my inner redwood circle)!!! I have been equally inspired by your fierce and big wild nature hearts.

If you have enjoyed some of the flavors of my poetry here on Rumi and the Shadow, you’ll probably love the poems in Re-Membering. Or maybe you have a friend, lover, family member who loves nature and poetry, it makes an easy and affordable gift. Pick up a copy here–and if you like it, leave a review on Amazon-I’d really appreciate the love!

P.S. The e-book version will also be available in a week or so. And it will be in some local bookstores as well, I’m hand-shopping it around. I will also be selling versions on my own website, but I don’t have that set up yet.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Up in cloud cuckoo land
days beyond neat rows and old news

the world does its slow bop
through the blue and white
ribbon-bowl of perfection

Silence is queen
in her cerulean realm
and for all I know
everybody went back to their home planets
or drowned desperately
trying to catch sight of their mermaids

but not me–
I brought all my stars and mermaids
up with me

keek-aboot peekaboo
stars stuttering hella huge
got me dancing hallelujah
ready or not here I come

taste all these clouds
this lupine quartz-lily sand sage
these sparkling dragonfly flanks
marinated in a breeze
from the spine of the sea mage

grasshoppers are clicking up a symphony
which reminds me
I too can kick up a dust storm
when I want to
but I’m pleased to say
that the ol’ sun and I
are taking it easy

I’ll close my eyes when he does
then I’ll become Guardian Moonman
watching over the Queen’s Silence

up here in cloud cuckoo land
everything is spun grandiferous

Don’t Be Quiet About Beauty

rootsmy friend,
don’t be quiet about beauty
don’t be silent about love
don’t seal your lips quite yet,
my love

even the ones who think it’s quaint
and queer, this talk unconstrained
even the ones loudest and preening
ache for love and beauty
through a mile of debris

oh, everyone talk of roots

but I say, grow past the ones they gave you
past the names that call you
past the farthest sideways glance

let them follow their own trajectory
like lonely reckless heroes
seeking the sacred well
let them dig, my friend
so you can fly

keep digging,
and seize your true name
from the center of the earth

then rise up north by northwest
until the secret
shakes itself out—
clean and heroic green
finally yelling

yes, yes,
I want that too

and sing the beauty of the whole mystery