What if we don’t really know
if the universe is expanding
or contracting

or both

because we don’t know
how willing or able we are
to stay open

We ask ourselves:
Can I withstand the crunch?

What if like a buried seed
the real question lurking is:

Can I bear the sound
of the shell cracking

with that sweet amber pain
mistaken for trouble?

But then, our ears pick up
the warbler’s woo

suggesting dawn is here
yet again

and we breathe a little deeper

Suggesting these cycles
are built into everything

Suggesting the experiment
isn’t over

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, Link in bio. 🌿🐝🐺🌲🔥 🌍🙏🏽


99826EAB-4FD9-481F-BB78-DFCB05D65C96She weaves a basket with healer’s hands
With ribbons from the swamp so green

She’s going to find that Sweet Spot and
Become the Wild Weaver Queen

Strong enough and plenty bold
All the things that need to hold

But flexible too in beauty bending
Around the shape of things and mending

Past and present sacred wounding
Scissors for what needs the pruning

The matter of the Moisture Spell:
Too wet and the ribbons swell

Worse yet it grows a mold
But too dry and it breaks, won’t hold

Gaps emerge when dry and shrinks
Things leaking from weakest links

There’s the matter of the Weaving Art:
Too many directions and it all falls apart

The old patterns won’t do, the heart
Needs a new design, so starts

A patience, a fall, a flip and flow
A trimming and a letting go

When present with what is there
The perfect size and shape appears

Unfolding freely in her lap
Ribbons lacing without a gap

The sweet spot sweetly spelled
And all the right things sweetly held
In the wild basket of her heart so well

-Ryan Van Lenning


Irrepressible Flow

ACF997AA-7120-44C5-87B8-EF4169DFF5E3I know not what a river is
nor what it knows
only that you cannot cross the river
of your own heart

nor should you

only that you follow it

in the center
without clothes
or excuses
or any muffled ear

Even oars are a thing of the past
and if you should need them
build your own
from a bright green trust

It is ever-tiding at the mouth
of the great sea
where sharks and seabirds thrive
once again nibbling the questions

that keep you alive

Whether it is sunny, or grey is reigning
weather is a river’s gnat—
what has it to do with your destiny?

If it’s socked in with fog
does not the sea still accept
your heart-river’s
irrepressible flow?

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

Den of My Heart

5EC61800-81B0-48CA-90C0-031092F4267FWelcome to my den within
The fire here is bright and warm

All double-heartedness dissolves
A throbbing vital peace resolved

The fire now is strong and steady
Come inside when you are ready

Enter when you’re full of joy
Or when you’re sad or tired
Even with your worries, welcome
You’ll find comfort by the fire

Lay your head in my lap when
All the troubled storms roll in

You’ll find rest by being heard
I’ll soothe you with the best of words
Caress you with my mighty paws
Healing with a sacred pause

We’ll tell tales ‘round flickering flames
singing songs and playing games

For no one else has come this far
into the holy den of my heart

The deepest nook is yours inside
To dream and play or even hide

Beyond the boulder, past the light
Past the last stone stalactites
A silent and still pool abides
Mirroring your moon-heart with delight

And though I am yet a wild bear
Mine is no mere wintry lair
I want to share my cave with you
Begin to build a life anew

So if you crave the other seasons
No need of knocks or even keys—I
Invite you in my deeply den
to craft a cozy home within



Befriending the Dark #10: Poem-share for sinking into the season & Befriending the dark, slowness, silence, & shadows. (This is the final section of the poem ‘Sip the Season Darkly’)

Within the cave something pulses,
it’s why we go there.

We hear it even now—
that which deepest dark cannot smother,
winter’s hands cannot touch
shadows stalking have no purchase.

Tender tendrils of our very own vine,
bearing the wine of our heart
like embers of eternal vernal.

A spark electric, A light immune
to season’s scorn—
a Flame Everlasting.

A Remembering.


Some secret vial of our heart’s nectar
distilled for this very hour
to sip the season brightly

And the sun too misses his mistress
and cannot too long stay away
he was meant for this: to shine

To not share his love is a wounding.

So in that darkest hour
he knocks on the nearest horizon
and announces The Return:

“Dear Love, I’m Here.”

Which is exactly what we find
written on the walls of our cave

as we witness the melting dawn
heralding The Promise.

All frozen walls fall
before the mighty glow
we look around and see
with new eyes:
first breath after coma

and though it’s just a whisper now
It’s enough to start it all again
and again…again….again…


3A5E33B5-6B66-4E46-B63F-66BE47646957National Writing Month DAY 29
(Word Count: 645)

The mountain is calling me. It is calling me naked into the exposed light, where the vast heat beckons me to crack like scorched soil ready to receive.

I myself must be empty of everything first—Empty of food, empty of distraction, empty of ego, empty of story.

Something in me gives assent. Ok—I’ll dive into the Great Inyo Sea, my name for this strange hybrid mountain-high desert-ocean labyrinth. Ok—I’ll stretch myself from horizon to horizon, until my soul image pops out in high relief, like shards of obsidian from the dry earth floor.

Somehow I already know: all the worlds to which I don’t belong will die in this high desert. I know I will leave them as offerings to the land.

The cracking begins. The mud lake. The mud at the bottom of my being. The shell of my false identities. My fortressed heart.

Oh it hurts—what gorgeous pain is this?

Oh, why is there such sweet beauty in the breakdown?

(Vulnerable Mountain Heart)
For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie