AND BACK IN AGAIN

4904FBAB-58B5-4D58-9002-33888EEBBA51Why oh why is the seed of truth
so difficult to sow

when truth be told
I want to sleep, I want to not live
in some big love dream

but close my ears and fall
like hail in this storm

down on the weak, the past,
the false notes, the hollow bones of me

Yet even now I sing off key

Because I’ve heard (and not merely heard)

I’ve walked (and not merely walked)

I’ve lived in that country
where there is no guarantee
but the great river’s flow—
in those wild green moments
I live like a king

Still, why should I trust you,
big dream heart?

whispering calm assurances
when you just might be
my ancient superstition

you must know my need to rage
and rampage
across the landscape

I want my undammed energies
to crash upon the four kingdoms
of myself

to cast into stone
all unworthies
then break them to pieces
for not being…what?

Everything is what it is

and my guttural utterances
are silver-lipped thunder
striking terrible certainties
upon the world

But you, my mystery,
amidst all that,
you merely open
your dumb, soft hands

more silent than midnight

and I, that I that keeps slipping

keeps slipping into them,
and out of them

and back in again…

MEMOIR: ALL THE HOLY THINGS

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In the 7th grade I invented
interstellar travel
via hydrogen ion propulsion.

Combined with giant sails
that would harness
the chaotic wind
from solar storms

we could go anywhere.

Even here.

I was in the library
where the sound and scent
of old books
were background to my life.

That was back when libraries knew how to be themselves.

They were quiet and sensitive.
I was quiet and sensitive.

Since then, I haven’t done much engineering. NASA, please forgive me.

Unless you count constructing façades,
adopting them as masks of belonging.

You see, earthstorms moved in
thrashing my branches
and I did the only thing I knew
how to do:

I deployed my earthworms
and became someone else.

Clearly, who I was wasn’t safe.

That was the wrong lesson.
But I knew not roots
and took to riot.

I learned to be noisy and insensitive.

I learned anger gets you things—Mostly the wrong things.

I learned, to my chagrin,
I couldn’t photosynthesize,
which led me to adopt some peculiar eating and moving habits.

I discovered walking and small talk.
I discovered cheese and liquor.
I discovered coffee and masturbation and chasing things.

Over time, I learned to need them.

Fantastic wounds and tornadoes refined me
and my feet walked it all together
into my torso.

This continued rather inelegantly
for decades

until one season
I gave myself the curse-gift
of walking with death
into the bottom of things.

How can I describe the down
and up of things
without mentioning love?

Oh fierce heart, I learned
to breathe, I learned
to eat
like it’s the first time.

I learned to honor the seasons

and all the splendid contours
of resistance
and its first mate, acceptance.

I guess what I’m saying is
at some level
I’ve always known
the value of silence

that sensitivity is a gift
and who I am is a sacred mystery

that storms are essential
to the journey

That being here is one thing

but really being here
is yet another way to love

and is the path
to all the holy things.
#ryanvanlenning

CHOCOLATE CAKE IN THE DUMPSTER

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You ever found yourself
with that sweet rich taste
on your tongue

enjoying that delicious decadence

only to realize
once you lift your gaze
you’re standing in a dumpster

yet again

with that full-bellied satisfaction turning into
the sharp gut ache
of mistake?

The cake likes to be eaten.

You like to eat. The end.

But what’s the deeper story

That has pain as one of the main characters?

What is it about that damn cake?

What is it about you
that has you knee-deep
in trash
just for a nibble?

How did you learn to abandon yourself
like that?

THE EXPERIMENT ISN’T OVER

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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

#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, Link in bio. 🌿🐝🐺🌲🔥 🌍🙏🏽

Sip the Season Darkly – Within the Cave Something Pulses

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Solstice Blessings!

I. Sip the Season Darkly

Darkness has arrived
wrapping its inky cloak
across the season
of our lives

long shadows and owls stand tall and salute
autumn’s bright slow song
becoming winter’s march

asking us not skip too quickly
over the hour
with an eager eye
grasping towards cherry blossoms
awaiting on the other side

Drink deeply from the season,
they say, from the cup overflowing
with the sweetness of the fruitful darkness

Sip the season darkly
in its slow inward night embrace

Wisdom hidden from summer’s glare
may yet pass our lips
should we have the thirst for it

Until finally, the world becomes too much with us:

We go to the cave, the secret one
in the mountain of ourselves
seeking stillness, a retreat
an inward looking

and listen for it, our own voice amidst

The Silence – can you hear it?

heart sunII. Within the Cave Something Pulses

Within the cave something pulses.
We hear it even now
feel it even now

that which deepest dark cannot smother,
and even winter’s hands cannot touch

tender tendrils of our very own vine,
bearing the wine of our heart

A Remembering–Aha!

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

And the sun too misses its lover earth
and cannot too long stay away

The sun was meant for this: to shine

To not share the big love is a wounding

So in this darkest hour
the sun knocks on the nearest horizon
and announces The Return with a subtle beat:

“Dear Love, I’m Here.”

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

“Dear Love, I’m Here.”

And we open our new eyes of dawn
with a deep breath

and though it’s just a whisper now
it is enough to start it all again
and again…again….again…
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Included in the new collection, Within the Cave Something Pulses, forthcoming 2020. 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. A book of mystery poems, Silence Begins Here, book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, and a celebration of the flow of rivers and souls, Riverever will also be out in 2020.

______________________________________________________________-

INTO THE CAVE Courses begin January 8. What emerges in the fruitful darkness?
Two groups—one All/No Genders Cohort and one Men Only Cohort.

DEEP BELONGING Courses begins January 9. Re-Belong yourself to Place and Purpose. Day and evening times.

Take the self-paced WILD NATURE HEART CHALLENGE at anytime, from anywhere.

👄 THE MYSTERY OF RED

4A1F0A8E-772C-4980-AB7B-8AAC02E6FB6D.jpegThe same desire that makes madrone red
offer her berries in deep autumn spread

brings firethorn’s pomes and their scarlet sprays
out for a dance amid winter’s play

then lands on her lips the color of wine
taking a sip of the season with mine

A touch of my wild conjures the red
to the soft of her lips, softly in bed

rolls on her mouth so ruby and rose
flickers of tongue like a serpentine pose

so eager to taste, and longing to bite
yearning to sink in the neck of the night

when the seasonal rains finally come
the land and body both are a’hum

when the release of fall finally arrives
all of the greens and deep reds come alive

with the rush of her blood flushing her cheeks
and all of her lips, like flooding of creeks

beyond their banks, a wet wild flow
the land and body alike are aglow.

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