WHAT I MEANT

A6DA9821-72FE-41A7-B35D-41CE351E61B8Meadow mint was meant to lend
its scent to me, was sent to me

as dawnly deer was here to leer
so near to me, so dear to me

and blackly bear had dared
to bare his soul to me,
but not solely he

For You, you aimed to tame
that ol’ bear in me,
just barely free

But I yet linger to bring
the wild things to you,
springing through

And long to meet
those wild feet you grew
that true myth in you

Is it wrong to want to greet
the Whole of you,
the very heart
of the be, not do?

All along, I sang the song
of deep belonging,
among the throngs

For I was built
to tilt my hilt
at windmills,
and not quit until

My heart aroar
with words as swords
as skilled as lords,
sing us toward
the secret chords

#ryanvanlenning

TASTE ITS EVERYTHING

1D902E64-8048-476D-873B-4ED30D2281C0
I accept on my palate,
wide-as-Shasta,
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

AND LOVE IS A TREE IS A HUMAN IS

158533CF-5C8C-46DA-A087-8B84941F5A0B

The idea of what a Tree is
Is hugely variable
Is not different
than an idea of what
a Human is. A Human Is
a creature that creates
is a being that emotes
that aesthetes that prosthetes
is part mammal part microbial mama is
part plant part star
part purr part roar
Part silent looking up yonder
part soaking up water under
What a Human is a Tree is
a promise is
permeable to clouds and Love
and Love is something
Humans and Trees exchange
and Love is
a Tree is a Human is something
the idea of which
Is highly variable

I COME FROM BARBARIANS

59505CF8-96B3-43A1-9526-7C6D5093436FI’m beginning to see you,
grandmother

I’m beginning to feel your broad shoulders, grandfather

With what waters were your bones built?

What feather-songs
blessed your dawn
what wings flapped
your dreams?

What moved you
down the river
to tears
to dance?

What pulled you
finally from the
from the fir
the ash and alder
and mountain maple?

Who welcomed you home
on the the new year’s moon
and what did you call it?

I’m beginning to hear you sing around the fire, grandmother

I’m beginning to feel
your strong hands, grandfather

No, I’m no orphan
I come from beautiful barbarians

who had no need
of pretty walls and roads
of any stupendous empire

What built you built me too
What sang you sings me too

We are people of the forest
men and women of the river

with an umbilical cord
to the great turnings
and a rootwink from the cosmos
a twinkle in its eyes

Soil of Me

1086C44F-A6F7-4AE2-82FE-BD22E8362D71Do you think I’m done breaking down?

A forest floor this rich doesn’t happen in a season
and I’m still hungry for dirt—
that hard ground of pain
and resistance
is many a meal to me

If grief and growth are sisters
inseparable
then I am their brother bond
compost

It’s ok, all of us are split.
All of me
is half of a half,
and halves of those in turn

I’m filled with detritus
all the way down like turtles—
it makes of me many a continent
and the water washing over

Darkness doubles, enfolding me
into its pocket
ever-deepening

I slip into it
not with fear
nor like a thief

But like one resigned
to the Great Seasoner

Always breaking down
and building up
until the soil of me can grow
the whole truth

I’ll keep breaking
again and again
until I hold it all.

#ryanvanlenning
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Included in the new collection ‘Within the Cave Something Pulses.’ That and my collection of love and erotic poetry, ‘Wild Rose Hips’, my book of mystery poems Silence Begins Here, my polyRiverous celebration of rivers, mountains, and souls ‘Riverever’ will be out later this year. In the meantime, You can get RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul. and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound. Follow me for mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart on IG and wildnatureheart.com for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

I HAD MY HABITS

35D03E9D-A61C-4E22-86DA-A9BE3909CDCDDid I go wild in the woods
or find merely
a measure of meaning
bright as a storm?

It’s not something one speaks about publicly.

Yet I recall growing dawns
on me like leaves
such rivers running through me

Something exquisite Becoming both green and grey
in the body. Oh, I could dance
and dance

and never reach the bottom of the tree.

The world was a ladybug, a lichen left to be.

All was rainbow, Everything
a universe
the poison oak a guardian
and ox-eyed daisies lazy free
the winter sky, abundant muddy me.

I had my habits—Living
on my in-and-out breath

Under a mushroom
Over a bough, bowed with moss.

Seasons saw me.

I drew a few to my hearth
Foxes from their hidden dens
Bears from hibernation
Falcons from their perches

Feral ones fleeing cages.

Conversations with the least of them,
the most of them.

I had no scrap of saddle
No undue doing
No yoke of note
but her sweetest voice.

Dropped my dreaming stone
in the creek
and fleshed it out so still.

Still…What eyes opened! What I opened?

Where else could my heart stretch so wide
But the path past the gates
away from the machine?

Will I ever find that clearing again
smack in the middle of things
wild in the woods?