SOME PACE WITH PEACE POURED INTO IT

3BEB20AB-3C3A-4C4F-A24C-E353547648AA.jpegHarbor buoys bugle
the sun to sleep
and wake the moon from her eastern slumber—
a changing of the guard

As the waves beat that old song
at the foot of our rock
curling the dark into itself

The syllables of the sea’s
vast rhythm confounds

But up here, the moon speaks clearly
and follows us
no matter how well we hide

And we like it that way.

Restoring some pace
with peace poured into it
like the light shimmering down
on the season’s cool waters

UNSCREW YOURSELF FROM DOORJAMB NIGHT

733E32AF-5C80-4E26-A5EE-8F90549CC746I’ll tell you how the long day ends
in the final hour of June, she said

with her kaleidoscopic coyote grin
and crook-eyed cricket gaze again
she sipped her nightcap hot and holy
in her ripped and airy lilac gown

aiming cat-tails towards venus west
after molten sun had bolted down

new moon me, she said, with glee
whipping wild her wide-eyed face
inside rhubarb ribbons racing
lacing up the vest of night

then offering peaches bruised just right
brewed up nicely for blue hearts
led early plums with early stars
to come out playing without a fight

Spiraling starly and madly Mars
around the skinny of her scar

I’m not the dream you thought you had
she sang with all her lovely fangs

Roam free and yes roam wide
throw those damned doors aside
unscrew yourself from doorjamb nights

was the last thing to me she said
before the month of June had fled

#ryanvanlenning

What Song-Basket Could Contain It All?

813C373D-83A2-4468-B069-BB7109199D75What they call love,
I call the wings of a tree
the sand-song of a river beach
multiplied by spring
divided by day and night.

So why don’t I want to resolve
among the 1-4-5-1?

What works works.

Yet I loiter on the 8th fret
looking downstream toward
the common chords
where all the meandering noodles
end up in time,
that great pincer.

Umbilical whoosh and porous I,
out of near storm fuse and fury
harvest all the inborn plenitude
to solo note upon note
while this stalking moon wanes
and waxes wise reciting
Heraclitus as her bloody comrade.

Filled, I want to spill the fullness
into the sky
and her heart
despite myself.

What chord can resolve it?
What song-basket could possibly contain it all?

—Ryan Van Lenning
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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, Link in bio. 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.

My Wild Nature Heart story

D3DEBFB8-3381-4916-8781-2E449F549D73November is National Novel Writing Month. And while I write a lot, especially poetry, every November I let go by without seizing the opportunity to push my story forward. And I am sitting on mountains of stories.

Until my friend and business partner Katie challenged me and herself to tell our wild nature heart stories. And not only that, but to make it public and share on our Wild Nature Heart channels glimpses of our process and progress. We asked each other: do you dare to show up on the page with the truth of your own story?

And we answered, “Yes!”

And so, in the spirit of council circle, and for the love of the juicy particularities of individual stories and the universal mythos they are held in, I am stepping forward in the challenge. And while I often tell my soul stories through poetry, writing a long-arc narrative is a very different enterprise and I am excited to do it!

So here’s what’s happening: We each (@ryanreturntotheearth & @katie.baptist.1) signed up for @nanowrimo, with the aim to complete rough drafts of the memoirs we’ve been meaning to write for a long time. In many ways these are the back stories for the work we do at Wild Nature Heart, and why we care about it so much.

Throughout November I will be posting updates here on Rumi and the Shadow and my social media channels, and we will do our best to each post on our Instagram and Facebook feeds our word counts, plus a juicy phrase or two capturing our latest writing session. You won’t see the stories in their entirety until they’re ready, but we will be offering  little glimpses as a way to include you in our process, so you know more about who we are, and we hope that by December 1st you will be begging to read more!

Looking forward to sharing this journey into vulnerability & self-discovery with you!
Thank you!

-Ryan

When That October Whale Arrives

90779C34-24BD-4A78-9CB6-7B58C984EFC4Consider: More things chirp than not—
a fact not lost on me when the grey whale comes.

On the 8th fret I loiter
looking downstream toward the common chords
where all the meandering noodles
end up in time,
that great pincer.

So why don’t I want to resolve
among the 1-4-5-1?
What works works.

Umbilical whoosh and porous I,
out of near storm fuse and fury
harvest all the inborn plenitude
while this stalking moon waxes reciting Heraclitus
as her bloody comrade.

Filled, I want to spill the fullness
into the sky and her heart
despite myself.

What basket could contain it all?

Sometimes a path is covered with leaves,
sometimes snow,
sometimes blues,
sometimes funk
while the fretboard meneuvers itself
into cool dark scales
the shape of fallen logs.

What they call love,
I call the wings of a tree
multiplied by autumn
divided by decay.

But will they forgive it all,
when every syllable is a conspiracy
against (towards?) the crimson leaves
and a fresh breath?

My memoir, should it bloom, is short:
a trickle, a broken twig,
a hoot-chirp or two,
a dark lake, a fabulous solo,
an evocation/evaporation.

I’m sorry, I meant: spark, undertow, wet ash, black coal, purple sun, compost.

The order of things used to be important
and plateaus serve a purpose.

Have you ever tried to run off a ditch
when the whale arrives?

Count Stanley, Pretty Cool Cat

celloshe made a date with a music man

tall as a shadow and well-dressed
with calloused fingers, chiseled chin
stripes like a skunk
lopes like a fox

he plays cello in upscale restaurants
dive bars and private pool parties
where he does lines of coke
off his horse-hair bow
and takes home hookers
calling them baby

but generally he’s disciplined
playing perfect notes
and didn’t become a master cellist
by accident

behind his sunglasses
he’s so damn dark
he can’t keep track of the gods
inside of him

and hired her as an assistant
to organize that shit

her name is Wandaya
and she’s good at her job
but started to like him
perhaps a little too much

she has heard rumors
that he beat the hell outtuva man
merely for playing the radio too loud
at a waterfall

the most she’d seen his temper
was when he seed-bombed
his neighbors perfect cookie-cutter lawn
after being up for three days
and she catalogued the whole thing

including at the end
when he took his cello
out on the roof
and demanded that the piano man come
and join for a sunrise jam and mimosas

the whole time wearing his black and burgundy
double-breasted silhouette blazer
and fancy fedora

pretty cool cat, she thought
but always complaining

that the piano’s outta tune
outta time
outta town

he expected perfection
and made her feel like a better woman

special like his vintage cello
oh, how he made it sing

he called it his Countess of Stanley
and she wanted to be his countess too

wanted his fingers
to play her like that

oh, how she’d sing