MY NAME IS BELONGING

A0661C0A-A30E-4E4B-AA43-8E752AFFF30CThey say the first step
is admitting
you have an addiction

So here goes
—my name is Mystery,
I’ve been here
a million times

and Yes, I take heaping spoonfuls of galaxies
when I should be sleeping

I gulp in the seasons
whenever I see one one
sitting out on the table

My name is Abundance,
and I swallow fat Oceans
calorie-dense forests
and whole fields of lupine
when I think no one is looking

My name is Curiosity,
and I look under rocks
and climb through dark caves running my hands
against the wet walls

My name is Insatiable
and I chew
on entire mountain ranges
just to get high

I have no idea what they say about the second step,
I wasn’t listening.

I was too busy sitting
on the edge of the cliff
watching the sun retire
and caressing the bark
of the madrone tree

My name is Belonging.

LET THE MOUNTAINS CARVE ME

9BA08CE9-76B2-4008-A63F-4E6AB3BCB683I. SEVERANCE

Commodities, cold machine.

Scandals and plastic and all
the Gottahaves.

Virtually there. The Chase
and The Shining Hamster Wheel.

Too full but empty.

Duller than a balmy day
sharper than a winter gale
this slow and sucking dry.

All the lies will die.

II. THRESHOLD

With wind and water
carry my discourse
up and over

letting the mountain carve
monuments out of me
epiphytic and free.

With river itself take my counsel.

With mud and mushroom heed
the wondrous whispers.

My tail prefers a winding path
and my face found itself
in that ancient blessed lake.

III. RETURN

I’d rather eat beetles,
do you understand?

Once I knocked on the wrong moon
but then hitched with a wild wind

finding that belonging
is not a place,
but a skill
honed with a fierce heart.

I shift shapes from mountain pass to alley way.

What is hidden remains my treasure

what is visible a sword
and flute

an offering
to the woven ones.

And when I say my preposterous names
risible and rooted

Oh how it ripples on and on.

—Ryan Van Lenning

From a new collection, No Lies on the Mountain, forthcoming 2020

LET THE VOICES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

A60E4815-227F-47B7-AAA2-BC0D3DC506FBLet the voices speak for themselves

the undulating mentors called waves and trees

the choir of storms in your pulse

the endless still lake holding it all
in the basement of your being

The black pebble is your ally
the hidden footprint
of the mid-autumn wind your friend
carrying the next turn within

So why then are you pretending
to be so alone?

Become a true citizen of earth
and apprentice yourself to the convergence and the breakdown

Receive that sometimes fierce thrust, sometimes gentle caress of a world wanting
to open you up

With no small talk, but questions
that make you bigger
by the mere asking of them

Yes, change you must—You accept that
but can you surprise even your secret self
at your grand unfurling?

Lean into the raucous conversation.

Can you overhear yourself?

Are you startled by those dangerous utterances
flying from your endless beautiful cavern,
like bats hungry for dusk,
the hour of change?

-Ryan Van Lenning

How Many Leaves Have Landed In Me?

82e95508-b8da-4f24-a2ab-f2aac78cbcf5How many leaves have landed in me
that I have not yet heard?

That I might shake a cool meaning out of
and launch some season,
some solemn ceremony of better belonging?

That I might compost to build a richer soil?

Might sprout some discourse wide as sky,
deep as the memory of dirt,
seasoned with ripe time?

How many leaves have landed in me
that I’ve yet the ears to hear?

-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, 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.

RE-MEMBERING AND COOING

F5F19E92-8587-4F5A-BBF3-9062CF897AFDRE-MEMBERING AND COOING

This week marks the 1-year anniversary of the birth of Re-Membering: Poems of Earth and Soul and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest. I marked it by actually taking my own books down to the river and celebrating Fall with them. I introduced them to Jeffers, June Jordan, Joy Harjo, and Jane Hirshfield and we all had a grand ol’ time dippin’ and divin’ in Flow and Fun.

I’m feeling enormous gratitude for the energies that flowed through me to bring them into the world, and all the people who saw in them something special and everybody who continues to find inspiration in them.

The 75 poems in Re-Membering are an unabashed celebration of the sensuality and mystery of wild nature, both inner and outer.

The poems in these collections (perhaps all my poems?) invite us to fully re-inhabit and say “Yes!” to our sensual natures, our animal bodies, our playfulness and creativity and grief, connection, mystery, and our instinctive LOVE for and BELONGING to this beautiful, sentient Earth.

May the poems in Re-Membering inspire your fierce and big wild nature hearts and be a small part of putting our shoulders to the wheel of The Great Turning.

—Ryan

“Bless Ryan Van Lenning for listening to the wild voices and bringing back the news for those who have lost their way. Bless him for reminding us of our original love affair with the earth and of what we know deep in our souls. His poems give wise counsel: let go of the debris, remember who you are, do not abandon your luminous thread.” —Lorraine Anderson, editor of Sisters of the Earth and Earth & Eros

“Ryan’s poetry speaks deeply and clearly to the awakening to our true interconnected nature, which is the only way we can transform our world.” -Molly Young Brown, Author of Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects (co-authored with Joanna Macy), Editor of Deep Times: A Journal of the Work That Reconnects

You can get both books 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, and Book of Rivers: Headwaters and Heartrocks will be out later this year. 🌿💚🙏🏽🌻🌲

I HAD MY HABITS

35D03E9D-A61C-4E22-86DA-A9BE3909CDCDDid I go wild in the woods
or find merely
a measure of meaning
bright as a storm?

It’s not something one speaks about publicly.

Yet I recall growing dawns
on me like leaves
such rivers running through me

Something exquisite Becoming both green and grey
in the body. Oh, I could dance
and dance

and never reach the bottom of the tree.

The world was a ladybug, a lichen left to be.

All was rainbow, Everything
a universe
the poison oak a guardian
and ox-eyed daisies lazy free
the winter sky, abundant muddy me.

I had my habits—Living
on my in-and-out breath

Under a mushroom
Over a bough, bowed with moss.

Seasons saw me.

I drew a few to my hearth
Foxes from their hidden dens
Bears from hibernation
Falcons from their perches

Feral ones fleeing cages.

Conversations with the least of them,
the most of them.

I had no scrap of saddle
No undue doing
No yoke of note
but her sweetest voice.

Dropped my dreaming stone
in the creek
and fleshed it out so still.

Still…What eyes opened! What I opened?

Where else could my heart stretch so wide
But the path past the gates
away from the machine?

Will I ever find that clearing again
smack in the middle of things
wild in the woods?