IMG_8288It begins with winds of change
that threaten to blow the house down
in the night

Forget about the pictures
on the walls
and the things left cooking
on the stove

If you’re lucky even the nails
will be swept away

and that little secret word
you use
in emergencies like this will
be useless

It’s time for new words

All the pickets are gone
and even the posts now look like bones,
skeletons of the past

Don’t worry about the why
of your heaving body
and indecipherable gutturals
snaking through you

just accept that energy wants to dance
and requires a vast vessel

the one you are
the one you are becoming

A night that seems too long
blesses you with a dawn
revealing a new landscape

inviting you to rebuild your house
only from what you find within

the shelves are stocked
with everything you need

and a sacred sign suspends itself
from the center beam:

Come in, wondrous one
you are second to none

From a new collection called ‘No Lies on the Mountain’, out later this year. In the meantime you can get Re-Membering: Poems of Earth and Soul, available on Amazon, Indiebound, and your local bookstore.


😋#Houselife Day 1: The Kitchen Chronicles

Dear diary,

It is the first day living in a house after more than 2 1/2 years living houseless. A short-term 1 month experiment. I know living inside can be extremely dangerous, but you know me, I’ll try almost anything once.

I have installed some of my food items and spices on two slabs sticking out horizontally from the wall. They appear to be made of a tree-like material, though the roots, branches, bark are nowhere to be seen. It has been very useful in organizing my stock.

Also in the room there is a large white box with doors. Inside the air is cold like winter or like the microclimate in the shade of a large oak tree, except light is emitted from a sun-like bulb, the size of a soaproot. But the little sun is cold, not hot like fire. I’ve decided to put some of my forage inside as an experiment. If it turns out to be evil and devour it, I’ll have to stick to the old ways.

Finally, there is a silver stick extending over a white box elevated a few feet off the ground (which is covered with a very strange substance, no leaf litter, and completely flat!!). At first I thought the silver branch was for hanging my hat on. But then I turned the little levers to either side and found water just pouring out!! (My hat got soaked). When I pull the right lever, hot water streams out. How is that even possible?! The creek and river never do that, except in very few and isolated instances. I have to admit, I do like it.

However, no birds or beetles or caterpillars have appeared. Not a single deer, fox, or bobcat has commuted through the room. No green neighbor lives in this room. So weird!! And when I look up it’s just plain flat white, no clouds, no stars, no breeze. It make me a little lonely.

But Nothing terrible has happened, and I’ll continue to monitor the environment (both outer and inner) and report back. It is National Burrito Day, so a celebration may be in order later. You know, as an experiment. But first: popcorn with nutritional yeast and coconut oil🍿


The light with sweetness court & keep
The dark, with song and moonly weep

Wage your love ungauged & then
Open the blessed spiral again

With splash of red, hunt your head
Cast over cliffs all your dead

Erect your No, stretch your Yes
The weeds need not outgrow you yet

Of all the Hows to say your name
Use the one that you became

When out of houses full of shame
And out of houses without a flame

You left to find that one remained
The rainbow one, the one untamed

And moved into the one that stood
The house you built with love & blood

Welcome to that home within
So silent, so still, beneath your skin



4B67CF69-D644-4047-AFE1-0D787F9BA851When will you start talking
about the things
you can’t talk about?

Not now, I’ve got rocks to collect.

Not tomorrow either.

It’s a busy week
and something else
(anything else)
demands my attention

Besides, the sacred wounds
will be there
when I get home.

Which home?

That’s not a fair question,
I’ll deflect it
and ask you some riddle.

It doesn’t work like that,
I hear you saying
in words I push in your mouth

While I chew on new willow buds
chew on your words.

When really what you said
was just what you said.

Sometimes we choose not to hear.

And then that awe-full echo
amidst the rippled silence
like always.

Sometimes I wish you’d
just raise your voice
raise your blood
raise your anything

and meet my winter-rivered
holy rage.

But you just declare:

All the foundations are there
Why don’t you put up walls?

This is a metaphor. This is not
a metaphor. This is not
the metaphor I want it to be

Not now, I’ve got work to do
got work to avoid.

Walls and a few windows perhaps?

You know I fear four-walled thinking.

But it’s not fear of walls
and windows
that’s stolen your hammer
and nails.

What are you talking about?

In order to put up walls
you’ve got to tear down walls.

Oh fuck. You devil
you angel. Where’s my sledgehammer?

That’s a good start.


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?


93FC754B-79DC-4382-88D7-A1CC22C300B5What could send me down this far
But your wild path bizarre?
Who could bring me down this deep
But your crooked steady stream?

All bowed over and needles fine
You curvy as the number nine
Stitched together in woodly scents
to pitch me in here like a tent

Red o red o green o green
I wondered if you heard my screams
Flow and free and green serene
I wondered if you’d seen my dreams

Branched like brooks like roots like lungs
Inside me run your ancient tongues
Your hermit thrush to tuck me in
Then golden-green to wake again

Redly barked and greenly packed
I wondered if you’d bring me back
The world’s noise had got me good
Until you whispered through my blood

What could send me down this far
but your wild path bizarre?
Who could bring me in this deep
But your steadfast summoning?

—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 @ryanreturntotheearth for ecosensual mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheartfor my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.