Whale of a Thing

7920D1AF-CA35-42AF-A96F-0C03C8F2F7D7But gusts by belly blew him back
swallowed silver dull and dull
without mercy without slack
took him in, a whaleful

inside dimmed forgot the way
which the up and which the east
towards what amorphous scummy stuff
he knew not what, some grief at least

but what it lonelied or what it meant
was quite enough. was quite enough.

grey makes one wan and spent, to stick
to any darkly thing or form
or flee to any colored storm

but what resolve to only float
and let the whale swim and soar

to look in wide worm of eyes
until spit back upon the shore

FORGIVEMENT

C5F69B49-5A87-477C-8867-59C768DCDE1FIt’s a bereavement wrapped inside forgiveness

or a forgiveness with a soft accomplishment
wonderment
enlightenment
nourishment

at its core

After all these years, she finds herself
wearing it like a light cloak—for him,
who was supposed to be
a teacher of spiritual things

not all-too-physical things

not things that would have her
doubting and destroying things
into the fifth decade

have her turning this way and that
in the dark labyrinth
always bumping up against walls
with a lump in her throat
 
but mostly she wears it for herself

for not going back in the house
for saying goodbye
to those spirits she grew inside her
but never met fully

for decisions of her too young self

it becomes a torch
when she can hold it steady

She has done her share of kneeling
at the river and lent her tears

and found some measure of flow
as the unspoken things
still make their way to the sea

And it becomes a prayer
lighting the way to the center
where her beloved awaits

#ryanvanlenning
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This poem is included in the new collection ‘Silence Begins Here.’ That and my collection of love and erotic poetry, ‘Wild Rose Hips’, and 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, Link in bio. Follow me for mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work. 🙏🌍🤠🦊🌲💚

OCTOBER’S DARKENING WATERS

0B43DDB8-33D6-4D0D-87DB-EE8B1BF3D2F8Afloat on October’s darkening waters
where no preludes live,
only conclusions

It’s a wonder how often I forget
that sometimes just to endure
is a full-time gig
when the wood mouse once again escapes
the talons from the sky

when air is served grey and husky
and whatever dreams were sent downstream towards the sea
in seasons past
return as trickster scenes
from film noir

dropped from the sky
relentless and edged
with an autumn-orange humor

and what might be red and green
in the disturbed wild
I can barely make out
through the mind-thick fog
in which only ravens speak

BY WHAT WIND

39722949-8C82-48EF-8BEC-DB91CFBFE7B4

Like limbs thrown down and wildly thrashed
a harvest of a mighty breath
the soft cables of our bond
so quickly cut, so soon withdrawn

By what savage gale overthrown
or by what wrenching circuit blown
this force that together drew
now splits us into more than two?

Oh rage that fells the solid spruce
and rips the redwood roots so loose!
Only a dizziness remains
debris from feral hurricane

It is not yet known why we agree
to that first long, unfathomed fall
when a deeper one is guaranteed
and tied to the end of it all

Or why, with that first flirty start
we court our own slow aching heart
Or do we give wind consent
to our own imminent descent?

—Ryan Van Lenning

 

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES (4/4)

CBDFD6B6-338F-4827-B105-40164A345D57Yes my mistakes, my habits unclean, all my petty hooks,
unrequited desires,
indecent hungers,
narrowness of vision.

My ignorance and vast egoism,
my ungoverned impulses,
flinging me into danger
as much as into joy.

My not knowing,
and my knowing well enough
but still doing wrong
my indebtedness,
my unearned privilege
my greed and uncompromising
dark devils paining the world.

The grief I carry still,
the grief I caused
the inflictions on your heart,
on the water,
on the living soil,
on plants and on the animals—
Oh, I too have waged brutal wars.

But also, to hold these
with the widest wings outstretched.

To ring my bones with flesh
yes good stomach and butt adoring
my athletic thighs,
both resting and pumping
gliding my hands in love
my well-worn knees and feet.

Yes, to my manly feet
my sensitive feet
my dancer’s feet
my wild feet

sauntering past all the gates
tipping my hat to the guardsmen
jumping across boulders

walking beyond approved forms
playing footsie with water
with you under the table
and no one has to know.

To walk the world like a madman
or like a man madly in love

To fling love unwisely
sometimes indelicately,
sometimes deliciously,
to throw it in iridescent loops
in ever-widening circles—

Oh, what a beautiful heart!
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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 poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart  for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.

I, TOO, AM LARGE, CONTAINING MULTITUDES (2/4)

6C54A95D-FAE1-4834-93D1-E17F7F97EB47Best of all to caress
play, pinch, seize,
explore, invite all
the world with these infinite fingers

sensitive, lined and lithe
touching the surface of things
the uncountable textures
the skins, the contours, forms and shapes,
the soft and hardness of the world
the slick and silky, scaled, slimy,
bumpy, coarse, and grainy—I welcome them into me

The sand falling between them
the roughness of redwood,
the silk of madrone
the granular solidity of granite
the thin wisp of alder leaves leaping into fall
the delicate racemes of pink flowering currants in spring

Or the thin cylinder
of her neck
the contour of her waist, the line
from breast to magnificent hips
to her delicate butterflies,
the grand horizon
and my own hard warmth

Yes, I am glad of my paws.

To laugh, belly and eyes
for all the joys
beauty beyond possibility
and yet it is
bringing tears to the surface of my bearded face

But also no less, the griefs
Unthinkable, unbearable, yet borne
yes, the world is cruel and dying—
unimaginably so.

Yet also, the world is being born
in each moment,
and is too kind—
unexpectedly so.
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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 poetry, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheartfor my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.