Journey Day Prayer

IMG_0936I open all my ears
and hear the forgotten things.

Seeing the spectrum of the rainbow,
I know the landscape from deep red to magenta.
And teach them how to see
I feel the texture of the spectrum of loves.

The contours and rhythms unfold clearly.
No less the sound than light.
No less the love, than both, I trust the whole.
I see the gossamer threads connecting.

The raptor in me opens his eyes.
The worm in me digs and feeds the roots.
The tree in me whispers slow green and golden syllables.
The nest in the limb, the egg in the nest, the bird in the egg, the pulse in the bird.
The heart at the heart brings them together.

I see the shining shadows, beautiful sacred wounds.
I see the hooks with compassion, both my own and others.
Like a man walking from dawn to noon, I eat the long shadow into myself.
The wind is not silent
and I am the river for what is wanting to be created through me.

I settle into the notes that are humming
or pitch my perfect harmony, expanding new measures
with the momentum of their own unfolding.

I know who I am.
When asked for the single word, I said:
I remember.

I return with medicine for the people and the earth.
Gratitude

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This Breath

rainbowThe parts of me that are steep
you shall soon know

and from there the valley looks as one
dark green folding tattoo of belonging

and it will take your breath away

Soon enough we’ll get to the final breath
but this breath is reserved for climbing
a breath spent on passion

The valley needs the peak-point-view
and the mountain needs the valley eyes
just as the out-breath needs the in-breathe

Don’t abandoned yourself down there
and don’t float away like a cloud
forgetting your dark red root

Let’s be big like Gaia
in her all-season robes
and naked as her starkest desert

This breath now is a sigh of wonder

stepping off the high mountain nest
and finding finally how wind is your ally

your mentor since the first cry
on the first day

as everything is, you realize

when your husky eyelids dissolve
like water
under bold suns shimmering

I Was a Dream You Had Under the Moon

moontreeI’m just a dream you had

A night your soul spent with the trees
playing under the moon

I was the creek falling through you
so you could feel your own flow

I became night so you could share your darkness
and say the big secrets out loud

and not merely have them echo on the canyon walls

 

I was the uprooted tree in the shape
of a falcon’s talon
for you to be caught and released

you slipped right between them

Oh, how good that felt—
was all over your face

I was the path
for you to go ahead on

With eyes of night
I became the path ahead
to protect you from the Predator

I was the fallen redwood needle
growing from the middle
as my hands danced with yours
dancing with me being the needle

The old does not always fall away
before the new appears

I became the moon
and showed you half my face
so you could see your own

the half you want the world to see
is the half the world needs

The other half will be another dream.

Not of me
But in being more you by dreaming me.
By dreaming me seeing you.

Me holding you. You holding yourself.

That feeling, a playful poem in the dirt.

That is all within you.

Don’t ask why or interpret it.

I’m what your soul is trying to be in the world.

I’m your blind-spot being seen.

I will come out and play as your dream
whenever you need it.

That is what I do.

Until you find me in the bottom of your bones
as your truest image

When you don’t need to dream me anymore
you will wake up and find me gone.

Astonished, you will turn over
and embrace the love
that’s always been there.

Earth Night: Three Cheritas

Blue Creek WaterfallI. Primary Pleasures

Earth Day

Missing the show and forgetting to eat
we make our own show

And instead feed our senses
with the texture of water and trees
and the scent of each other’s stories

 

II. Conversations

The resistance begins—

“I am not ready,”
you tell your pulsing magenta heart.

“My door is too narrow
and I don’t want this,” you lie.
Yet the cracking continues unabated.

III. Night Falls

Earth Night cracks open.

Feet in the cold creek
falling down the canyon

Night falls, walls fall
warm hearts follow the creek
falling through each other’s twisted canyons

-Ryan Van Lenning

A cherita is a poetic form that I learn about from from poet Annie R. Ray. Cherita [pronounced CHAIR-rita] means ‘story’ in Malay and was created by poet ai li in 1997 in memory of her grandparents. It arises out of the English-language haiku and tanka traditions, but allows for a micro-narrative and is slightly more flexible in form and style. It consists of a one-line stanza, then a two-line stanza, and ends with a three-line stanza.

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)

What the Whole World is Trying to Be

creek reflection2With this hand I touched
the skin of a madam madrone
silky red winter blush
bending springward
through the fog

And with this hand
I reached into the water
cold with the taste of seasons
and scooped the mud
that had waited all year
to feel my face

A lavender whistle
petaled into me
like a feather
from an unseen canopy

and as the bright syllables of the dawn
uttered themselves
deliciously into my ear

someone who had my hands
became a mud person
unlocking an image within

The great tree awoke
remembering a dream:

that it had been a man
standing on the banks of a creek
one hand on a madrone
the other full of mud

and wondered at having five-twigged
hands and moving so quickly
from rock to rock

Then, shaking this strange image
from its limbs
got up and stretched, saying,

“I am what the whole world is trying to be”

and washed its face
in the morning mist

—Ryan Van Lenning, Forest Poet