Plum Blossom Blanket

plum blossoms on mossHere’s the 9th installment of winter Haikus. My goal: a total of 107 Forest Haikus, sharing in groups of about 10. Since Tuesday is Spring Equinox, I better get moving on the final two sets! (See the others: Skinny Dipping Water, Fiddlehead Fern Plays an Early Note, Cricket’s Eye Point-of-View, Being Stalked By A Forest, Wings Like Boomerangs, My Tent is Leaking Haikus, Always Coming and Going, and Dancing Naked In the Rain)

It’s mugwort season—
prepare for dreaming big with
bitter tea at dusk

February fog
and urgent appointment—
creek mud on my face

Chilly winter rain
too lazy to leave my tent—
ukulele time!

Snowy plum blossoms
never refusing to bloom
when the spring breeze asks

All my pens have died
so I write poems in the mud
with my two bare feet

Taking down my tent
thinking it’s already spring—
storm thinks otherwise

Eastern moon rising
over winter river–Both
flow west into spring

Little forest mouse
waiting til I fall asleep
to explore the night

Plum blossoms blanket
the green moss coat white, like
parade confetti

Mustard and mugwort
one for dinner, one for sleep—
late winter buffet


It Gives One Ideas

plum blossomsHere you can laugh in February

the unexpected is to be expected

a midnight creature leaves
bay nuts for you
and the creek is singing for its supper

woodpeckers and owls
tell you what time it is
but what about the new birds
that weren’t here in dark December?

You might think that February
is dreaming spring,
the equinox on her mind.

It’s easy enough to do

but not to get ahead of ourselves
is a good morning task—
February is dreaming February

The season is laughing stinging nettles
and sticky monkeys

the month is grinning meadow flowers
as pink ox eyes at dawn

and yes, a yellow saluting
affirmation of the still slanting sun
inching higher in the sky
day by day by day
like a toddler learning to stand

urging the arroyo willow
and wild currants
to see who can bud best
by the end of the month

and I’m not opposed to opening
my sun-starved belly
to it all

skin smiling wildly
with mild stone fruit
freely singing its scent
into the canyon breeze



like only this season can
see it while you can:
a one-tree performance
of White Petal Extravaganza

as the western wind applauds
and kicks his heels up
to play the eucalyptus
like a harp
and runs his fingers through
Monterey’s long pine hair
when he really gets aroused

and they seem to like being tickled
in that way
letting out a moan
now and again

as if stretching for the first time

it gives one ideas
on a February morning
here in the nearby faraway

which is not unlike a thousand other mornings
that have come before
and will come after

but it is

-Ryan Van Lenning

Photo Credit: Diane Dew Photography

Fiddlehead Fern Plays An Early Note

Here’s the 7th installment of winter Haikus. My goal: a total of 107 Forest Haikus and mini ‘coyote’ poems over the winter, sharing in groups of 10. (See the others: Cricket’s Eye Point-of-View, Being Stalked By A Forest, Wings Like Boomerangs, My Tent is Leaking Haikus, Always Coming and Going, and Dancing Naked In the Rain)

IMG_7830Nettles in my cup
eastern light slides over plum
blossoms popping white

In a morning mood
a choir of coyotes
sing the winter morn

Early second moon
haikus in the morning frost
jays write them better

Mushrooms emerging—
A Potawatomi word
has it: puhpowee!

Pink in the morning
white and yellow with the sun—
daisy eyes open

Music of the woods
fiddlehead of lady fern
play you on my tongue

A fiddlehead fern
early note of forest spring
makes a tasty treat

On the edge of flight
will she jump out of her nest,
Little fledgling moon?

February moon
caught in the branches again
will she ever learn?

Cold night, morning frost
only thing hot is my blood
on a low boil

Mid-winter dream:
liberation by solstice
But first—bad habit


A Currant Affair


Pink-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum glutinosum)

A mid-winter warmth wins your hand
and draws you out for pendulous play
to blossom right in front of me
a dream of pink in light of day

Draw me in your inflorescence
Draw me in with all your senses
Draw me with sweet sagey scents and
Draw me in with rosy fervence

Fragrant is your dangling racemes
bunching grapes of blushing dreams

Your pretty little grape does dangle
in morning dew at such an angle
I want to pluck but dare not do it
perhaps the spring brings ripened fruit

I want to be a tiny ant
and on my tongue take in the sweet
But I’ll wait a little longer
and savor all your lovely treats

Coffee berry is your partner
the ruby-throated loves you too
a sparkle in the green and grey
it doesn’t take you much to woo

Grow in flow of warming current
purple berry in longer days
I want a taste, Sweetest Currant
before the birds take you away

Snow Moon Stone (La Luna Llena #6)

InstagramCapture_70c221de-d993-4166-8095-f4bb23c7d893_jpgtonight you are
a solitary nomad,
a snow moon stone
practicing stillness
strolling through
a clear winter sky

nothing to hinder
your celestial sojourn

the cold heaven is yours
commanding the earth’s

even your closest friend, Venus,
dances deferentially
a fair distance away

your itinerary
doesn’t include
detours to this wet

but I sometimes wonder if
you ever succumb to
lunar loneliness
and seek affection from
creatures of the earth

Or it enough to know
that you pull
the tides up over their heads
like a blanket?

Though your native tongue
is soft-spoken
and your skin is soft and grey
you speak a luminescent lingo
loud enough to wake the owls
and evoke the howls
of canis lupus

you dress in flowing glows
bright enough to illuminate
the darkest pockets of
Deep Winter

February Renaissance


Plum Tree Blossom

my morning alarm goes off:
a family of
red-headed woodpeckers
enjoying a breakfast buffet
of pine cones above me

a charm of hummingbirds
is scoping the joint
more curious than hungry
fuschia flashes amidst
a flurry of feathers
green with the sheen
of a summer in winter

a solitary bee
wonders among
my oxalis forest
stealing goodies
from the 5-petaled
golden flowers
that make you believe
they’re not a weed

I stretch and giggle

it’s a February renaissance
for all of us