I want my words to be loyal
to the earth

a celebration
like the spots on a fawn
prancing through young pine

or new dawn dancing
past the night

I want my words to be soft
as a bunny’s butt
and feather grass

smooth as madrone skin
or a woman’s inner thigh

Yet also, I want them to be hard as wild walnuts
tough as granite
breaking feet
and ego

deadly serious
like lightning strikes
splitting spruce

Like climate chaos
and corona crisis
carrying away the normal
on waves beyond control

as prickly as a yellow jacket
or poison oak,
that’ll leave you itching
for weeks

Words that wake you up
like a cold splash
of mountain creek
on your morning face

I want them to lead you
gently into the arms
of your DreamGiver
or an owl’s hoot
under impossibly dark skies

But also startle the rut mind
like a buck launching
from the brush

Or a bright red snow plant popping up among ice cups
in the fir forest

an eager invitation
to all of Spring’s erections

or a surprise double rainbow
after the thunder storms

I want my words
to be stained purple
from picking wild blackberries
and juicy plums

Or sexy like a peach rose unfolding
and borage bringing all the bees
to the yard

I want them to allow the wind
to blow through
like invisible currents
carrying secret scents

tickling the hair on your forearms
that you only notice
once it’s gone

above all, I want them to grow
from the soil, telling truth,
loyal to the earth


Photos: Scenes of magical trillium and kin from today’s rainy walk in the redwoods. Ancestral Wiyot Territory


Like the stars that dot
our mutual horizons

the world we used to inhabit
no longer exists

Though it continues
to emit its hard and soft signals
into our hard luck-struck I’s

and our eyes still admire the known constellations

yet we also feel somewhere
behind the breastbone

that we will belong each other anew into patterns
with bold new names

And that is why we are here

Doing this



#ryanvanlenning [photo credit Nasa Goddard 2007]


I accept on my palate,
her lips,
all lips inside and out
on my robust tongue

Yes her sharpest
and softest needles

Yes her wettest petal
of wild sea and copper

Banishing shame
beyond the mountains,
too tame voices of others
no more

Yes my endless curiosity,
my fathomless appetite,
my vast arousal by—for—with—
the world

I want to taste its everything


A savage pulse
asking of you
more than you think
you can handle

lives here.

Did you expect to love the world and not die daily

from the sundry shocks
both sharp and subtle?

Did you expect to find
on the edge of every granite cliff
a pillow for a weary head?

A sweetness in every mouthful bit off from the big loaf?

Surely the wintered sun
and rough and gripping tide
disabused you
of such sentimentality

Yet surely the same sun
and the lunatic arriving
of a faultless sea
taught you, Beautiful Gambler,
how a lover shows up
with an unconditional caress

But if you’ve yet to find
the capital C in celebration
in the seed of each moment

strap the searchlight
around your ribs

and shuffle like a crescent moon
over all your little resistances

your feet becoming wiser
with each toe-stub
in your heart

until they become sandpipers dancing at dawn
around the fingers of the sea
knowing exactly where to go


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.


E9D2B10B-07C8-4BFD-ACF6-F00FFC9CF141I usually don’t share my Wild Nature Heart offerings on here. But I wanted to let readers of my poetry here know about the Wild Nature Heart Challenge, in part because soulful earthy poetry is central to it.

The Wild Nature Heart Challenge: A Season of Deepening is a self-paced mini-adventure with 25+ earth-rooted practices and sense-based and soul-deepening exercises along with accompanying poems to guide you into reconnecting and deepening your connection with wild nature, with natural cycles, and aspects of your wholeness.

Discover more here: