Happy 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
and endless faces, her eyelashes,
wisps of hair that won’t obey,
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,
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.