CBDFD6B6-338F-4827-B105-40164A345D57Yes my mistakes, my habits unclean, all my petty hooks,
unrequited desires,
indecent hungers,
narrowness of vision.

My ignorance and vast egoism,
my ungoverned impulses,
flinging me into danger
as much as into joy.

My not knowing,
and my knowing well enough
but still doing wrong
my indebtedness,
my unearned privilege
my greed and uncompromising
dark devils paining the world.

The grief I carry still,
the grief I caused
the inflictions on your heart,
on the water,
on the living soil,
on plants and on the animals—
Oh, I too have waged brutal wars.

But also, to hold these
with the widest wings outstretched.

To ring my bones with flesh
yes good stomach and butt adoring
my athletic thighs,
both resting and pumping
gliding my hands in love
my well-worn knees and feet.

Yes, to my manly feet
my sensitive feet
my dancer’s feet
my wild feet

sauntering past all the gates
tipping my hat to the guardsmen
jumping across boulders

walking beyond approved forms
playing footsie with water
with you under the table
and no one has to know.

To walk the world like a madman
or like a man madly in love

To fling love unwisely
sometimes indelicately,
sometimes deliciously,
to throw it in iridescent loops
in ever-widening circles—

Oh, what a beautiful heart!

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.


Rave on Bold Scratchers

4738B572-1D75-4D72-9FA0-FF2916907EC8Stretching out towards the world
pouring into them
trying to capture the
endless bouquets of beauty and pain

scratching black and white shapes
and florid brushstrokes
on our canvasses
conjuring melodies
like raving magicians

all the while
knowing they’re mere clouds
blowing through
like transient guests on vacation.

Like everything.

One day we’ll sit with the final sunset
with only the merest scratch
in the sand remaining
and even that will be
reclaimed by the great sea
at midnight–
just as we will be.

Yet still we stretch and scratch.

We are alive.

Stretch big and rave on bold scratchers.

Still No Idea

84868FD3-F750-4121-9BFF-AC095A5D6ED6I’ve looked through telescopes and microscopes
Scanned the hills under all the skies
I’ve conducted all-night vigils just to find out
Even climbed inside one from time to time
But I still don’t know how the night turns to day

I’ve set up hi-fi recording equipment
I’ve planted, watered, and harvested
Even climbed inside one from time to time, but still
I don’t know how the seed becomes the tree
Becomes the fruit

I’ve looked to all the experts
Gathered all manner of stories
and hired an inside informant
Even climbed inside one from time to time
Yet I’ve no idea how the child becomes the man

I’ve asked the best
and searched the great compendiums of wisdom
I even resorted to creating some myself
and climbed inside one from time to time

However, I’ve still not a clue
how nothingness becomes a poem

The Push and Pull of the Thing

DC36226D-220D-419F-8012-6190468FCCF9What do you do when above all
It’s the rhythm uncooked, the rush of the raw
The moon-kissed river within and thawed
Most precious, unbolted and brightly awed
Original blood pulsed and odd?

When even if you owned nothing at all
Nothing else under silvered skies
But the sink of the sun, the startling rise
When the push and pull of the thing was the all?

And the goldupongold, the unlikely prize
wealth beyond dreams deferred or dried
not festered or stunk or sunk with a load
but light as a feather, finely floating
like a film on the water finally flowing?

What do you do but swim and ride
waggling and wagging and wild-eyed?

Your Dewdrop Desire

4711150E-7631-4EFF-BFB9-7731312B1444Don’t make the mistake of believing your dewdrop desire is different than the tide—
sometimes high 
sometimes low
yet always showing up 

Without it how would 
the birds and the shoreline 
feed themselves?

How would the world continue to be created?

Don’t be fooled into thinking
your red raw art 
or that sunbow wow on your face 
are any different than egret wings
flapping into the new moon

Ok, if you came at it sideways
with a Crab-eye-point-of-view 
the doorways do look different

They might appear as pockets of mud 
waiting for your thirsty feet
even if you bring your shell 
far into the day

But certainly don’t make the mistake of thinking 
your feet are different than your fathomless heart
deep as the memory of the sea

The Poet’s Assent (An Ode to Rilke)

a9f03dab4540ebd5c3e9b4d0165571f2--rainer-maria-rilke-the-birdsThe poet Rainer Maria Rilke has been some sort of koan for me. February is the time of year that was a creative hurricane for Rilke, allowing him to finish The Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies in 1922. In one week, Rilke completed the unfinished elegies, and from February 2 to February 23, Rilke completed all the 55 sonnets of the two parts of Sonnets to Orpheus

He then wrote to his long-time friend, the inimitable Lou Andreas-Salomé, that he had finished “everything in a few days; it was a boundless storm, a hurricane of the spirit, and whatever inside me is like thread and webbing, framework, it all cracked and bent. No thought of food.”

In the fall I had thrown myself into trying to understand the heart of Rilke, his poetic motive, as it were. This is a poetic attempt to get at some of what I think he was up to and how he got there. In the meantime, I am still diving in.

“Incline a while,” she said with a smile.
A simple life, simply styled.

So with legs outstretched and peering into
the Poet’s mind and querying:
what’s this queer soul really hearing?
what’s this mirror really mirroring?

Seeing into things and Being
Into emptiness beauty fleeing

The whole of his heart’s work
from the hole in his heart works

because he dug and dug for days
he found upon his tongue a praise

Upon a summer solstice morn
on the eve of World War
a poet bent his inner ear
and found the point drawing near

Descended deep until he found
a limit to his seeing eye
no more secrets could be spied
until he looked with loving eyes

without it there would not be
the Sonnets or the Elegies

Only with that descending tone
could he ascend – not merely up
but with the whole earth on its throne
and with an ear so different bent
with drums began: “ASSENT! ASSENT!”

Only heart bent circling love
could form a praise upon a tongue
could a faithful Yes be a sung
like a song from morning dove

Only then the jailbreak
of those images locked within
and from behind the bars of time
the Poet affirms the world again