The Dawn Needs Me

IMG_1801Dear ones,

I must go now.

The dawn needs me

Morning misses
the feel of my face
across her feathered fingers.

The cool sage
of her early breath
requires my participation.

Oh how even through
the 101 impenetrable walls
of your comfortable palace
the cries of a forgotten land
carry like bugles of a victory march

a celebration of peace
after the great war

And though the heavy eyelids
of all your enchanting veils
conspire to hide
the gaze of the beloved

I must keep my promise
to the light—
she needs my eyes open
now more than ever

for shadows are racing
across the body of the world

and without my bare skin
as a witness
how can it stretch itself awake
and bring those shadows home?

The warbler needs my ears
to help summon the sun

The patient heart of the oaks
long for me to join
their silent morning meditations

So I must go now.

I climb the palace walls
and keep walking.

Past the courtyard, past the gate.

Across the belly of the golden fields.

If you should miss me
know I am doing my best
to help the dawn
spill herself recklessly
into the memory of our great belonging.


Again It Begins

dawn2And you have the rest of the day
to fit in

and make your face do the things
that other faces do

and your mouth utter all the things
that aren’t your own

so why not take this silent blue moment
with the heron

to wake up the day together
with your true face of delight?

the stale masks will still be there
hanging on the wall at noon

alongside the others, judgment
and disappointment

in the afternoon you can follow
the story of the others

who are following someone else’s story
and in the evening you can join

the others in the ritual
of draining the light from your eyes

But for now, put in your eyes
of dawn and dew

and let your bright peace
unveil itself as the fog recedes

your bones and what holds them up
have been waiting so long for it

and the night’s last star doesn’t seem to mind
and the day’s star might even join you

-Ryan Van Lenning

Gossamer Threads

IMG_9705Gossamer threads
string together the world

some seen
some unseen

follow the ones that draw you
towards the face of dawn

the threads keep leaping
silently like a spider

blade to blade
heart to heart

mud to star
rock to wet rock

through the fog
on the big river

one foot in front of the other
over the water with big green trust

following the ones that pull
your soul out

and tug your huge heart
steady through the thousand turns

Nothing Between You and the Song of Dawn

oak rootsSometimes the storm comes
to reclaim the things only borrowed

and washes the ground
from under your feet

that cold night took one leg
and the river took another

until half your roots
sailed to sea

yet you flourish deliciously
picking up rocks with your toes

and let birds play
in your time-worn beard

nothing will come between
you and the song of dawn

for you have a contract
with the world of change

swirling and opening
opening and swirling skyward

gnarled knuckles bowing to earth
fingers caressing the sky

Soar Your Southern Bird at Dawn

soaring birds at dawn“Descend the western gorge at night
and soar your southern bird at dawn
pitch your poem in northern sky
before the blessed day is gone.” – Umbrano

According to scholars, this enigmatic epitaph was thought to have been written by the forest monk variously called Umbrano or Umbra Minor, in the hills surrounding Rome in the 3rd century B.C.E.  Dated to the spring of either 286 or 287 B.C.E., during what is considered his annus mirabilis (wondrous year), it is one of 999 poems he purportedly composed in Aduana, one of several pre-Latin languages.

Local uncivilized people considered him to be a rainbow wizard or mud magi of sorts, and bestowed the name Magi Arcus Iris upon him (Ijana Oma in Aduana). This epitaph was engraved on his tombstone.

(NOTE: None of this is factually true. All of it is mythically true)

I’m Your Downshifted Dawnstroke

dew at dawni’m your downstream goose chant
curved and rippled river ride

like bugled dawn across
a field of fog

i’m your

downy feather song
owl of ancient disposition, your

downwind scent doe-eyed
‘won’t you be my neighbor?” neighbor

your upside down buckeye ballad
on the first day of spring

your downloaded app
for a heron meditation you
didn’t know you needed i’m your

scaled down version
of an oversized century

that downtown-shaped hole in your
wild nature heart those

downplayed tears and fears
falling like a downpour on a downcast cloud face
from a torn world you can’t face

i’m a down-sized dish feeding
out-sized appetites

that wet downwind whipping
a love-hymn
on the wings of a checker spot
kissing your spring sprout skin
on the downbeat

but on the upbeat i’m your

downshifted dawnstroke
striking up a conversation
with the morning dew
down on the ground

worm’s eye point of view
something you’d never thought you’d do

—Ryan Van Lenning