Head Like A Trophy

brain-heartI carry my head around
like a trophy
won at some contest
I don’t remember entering

My body—having been forgotten—
loses touch with itself
and acts out in a 1001 ways

a dull tool for carrying
around my trophy

and my heart—having been buried
by a fickle brain—

patiently awaits in the dark
soil of my seed-time hibernation

Sometimes in the muted nest
of a late winter morning
when the slanted light sneaks in
through the branches, whispering,

“Wake up….”

I can hear a throbbing
beneath my feet
miles below the tree-top canopy
of my one-song skull

a purple-bruised pulse
desperately singing for its own
springtime resurrection—

the true trophy

-Ryan Van Lenning, Forest Poet


No Less a Web, Spider Spun

webNo less a web, spider spun
these words around you weaving run
like threads so fine, but not less strong
to bind within you a magic song

And here a peek behind the art
a secret with which no spider parts
Yet I, a weaver of open source
share a bit of that conjuring force

First, (if this be an ordered tune)
or lastly, if you want the end so soon,
is a look, or rather, a vision met
upon which your design is set.

See clear, my witches, an image bold
with which your sticky tales are told
float it in your inner sea
and with all your eyes, like spiders see

Make of yourself a giant ear
and gather all the things you hear
and let love be greater than deepest fear
and you’ll find that threads appear

Ask what it is you want to net
with ever spinning spidery set
you just might catch it yet

The next of this cannot be taught
but without which your art is naught
’tis this: a certain certainty
and if it’s weak, the power flees

Thus flinging into nothingness
is what it takes-nothing less
a trust with no reason why
your filament will find its flight

Once it’s flung, that’s but half the spell
the other half is crafting well
circle round and join the threads
and paint the image in your head

in between, a tip or three:
a spell, to weave, is both form and free

Take care to note what’s in the air
the sounds, the scents, the subtle flair

A thread is summoned from abdomen
but also from the wild winds
a gentle breeze will be your friend
a gusty gale will be your end
unless you surf the storm with ease
you’ll wind up in the web you weave

Without a form – the threads will fail
without freedom, the force is frail
so find the balance between the two
to catch the thing you wanted to.

Look at what other spiders construct
see what’s cast, and see what’s luck
Admire the patterns, and see what’s caught
Look for the angels and demons they fought

Study the sounds built into their spells
follow the lines of the tales they tell

Look to the recluse, the widow, the wood,
but never get caught in the net of the should

Take what you can, as in a sly theft
but the strength of your web is bound by what’s left
after all of the threads from within are out cast
into the world to feast or to fast

That something so strange, something so rich
that deep design that only you can pitch
that something so rich, so double strange
that things may be caught quite out of your range

And that is the gift of a magical song,
sung with the words of a web so strong,
that its effects are unknown in the light of the day
not until night is the power relayed

A final glimpse behind the weave
before we rest and take our leave

As silence is part a wizard’s gift
what’s not said will shape and shift
the space between the strands are there
to make designs in air appear
more luminous and boldly spun
as much for purpose as for fun

And as spiders in their patience sit
awaiting what their net can get
so our last secret of this webby play
will have to wait another day




Pull Down Your Dams

Kuch_Dam_in_QuettaWho put those dams up
on the river of your soul?

they must come down
by any means necessary

you must know
that your watershed is

fresh love nourishing
not just you but all of us
don’t let those who don’t know

pour waste into your river
or let the silt build up

don’t worry about those other rivers
they’re doing their own thing

the dams will fall, eventually, of course
as all things do

but you might nudge them along
chipping away at the widening cracks

or might I recommend:
strategically placed dynamite

in a grand and dazzling

it has the advantage of being
furious fun — a blessed boldness

but whatever way,
take those godforsaken dams down

and let your waters flow
if you’re on your way to the sea

then damn it,
go to the sea


The Biggest Circle Holds All the Parts

desert sun2Bees buzz and dragonflies dance
as the wolf howls call us into circle

We settle in to be unsettled
vulnerable to the rising eastern sun
and the gaze of others
Witnessing our unfolding stories
spiraling in towards the truth
that is ours alone to claim

arriving at our target
like an arrow of Artemis

no longer invisible
we become curious about what
sacred nuggets and rose-scented revelations
come pouring out of our heart-mouths
into the Inyo

The sun keeps chasing us, saying:
“You can’t hide anymore”

But it can rain at any time,
and sometimes it is rainy and sunny
at the same time
in the weather systems of our soul

And now: we show up
to take our places on the land

in gratitude and yearning
in celebration and commitment
marking the next unfurling
of that place within ourselves
which is none other than
taking our true place in the world

We bring but our gift of tears
of grief and joy
and ears to hear
what is already here

The land speaks with us
and through us
because we are not separate

we do not believe the Big Lie

The land speaks through us:

as an earth poem that unlocks hearts
as a log we carry home in love
as a bird with whom we whistle, saying, “Pay attention”
as an exquisite trust in the Beloved, the Great Mystery
as the scent of a burnt tree
and paw prints in the dirt, tracking them back to the Source
as a rabbit dancing with love and fear
as gnarled roots we love
as an ever-emerging tree being seen
as an unmatched sunset, saying goodbye with a squeeze of the hand
as honey in the rock that cracks open
as a consuming fire that forgets what it once was

as a mid-day sun stretched between the horizon of elation
and the horizon of desperation,
taking a Sacred Pause

knowing IT IS ENOUGH

Because the land holds us

all the parts
all the parts
all the parts