Here it is National Poetry Month every month, but Happy National Poetry Month nonetheless!!
Have you ever seen the color of the evening bird’s song?
It smells like joy.
It’s one of the things they rarely print
in the park brochure.
It’s probably different for everybody
but for me it’s a spring breeze
floating an orange and turquoise shell
out of an ancient canyon
It’s a red and yellow whistle
petalling through me like bubbles splitting
and swallowing themselves
out on the laurel limbs
of the twilight tree.
That’s the smell of joy—
the brochures don’t say that.
They do mention to stay on the trails
but they don’t mention that
when you walk the fallen log
stretching from shore to shore
of the redwood forest
strange things happen
with the birds
and the scents
and the hearts of the forest
They don’t say that when you see
the 7:30am fingers of the sun
interplay with the morning dew
hugging the gentle green arms
of the old oak
you will have to change your life.
Sometimes the truth gets told
and they say “Enjoy the Park”
So you do.
And the creek jumps up to kiss
and the smell of joy
floods your cells
and you know you will never leave.
Do you think I am done breaking down
A forest floor this rich doesn’t happen in a season
and I’m still hungry for dirt—
Obliterate the monkey bars!
I was told once by a half-farmer
to catch the worm I must become the early bird
and to join ‘em if you can’t fight em
I still don’t know if that’s
something to do with hard work
or with fishing and surrender.
That was my grandfather.
The other half was winter and whiskey.
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 them all the way down
it makes of me many a continent
and the ocean washing over
Always building up
always breaking down
until the soil of me can grow
the whole truth
—Ryan Van Lenning
You can get my books RE-MEMBERING: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest through your local bookstore, on Amazon or Indiebound, My book of mystical poems Silence Begins Here and book of love and erotic poems Wild Rose Hips will be out later this year.