HEARTFINGERS

37DAA79F-E90F-4195-9E36-82DFA0EE3F45Gloat of wet and waving so silver slick

solicits the Star or the Me
to make dear yearn

yearning spends and softens,
becoming just Being

Binding no fear in me,
No fear of me.

I stretch Heartfingers
pruned of pity and pride
and groomed of greed

by which is meant We meet
on the bridge of belonging

Touch and touch met
in equal measure

Heartfingers weaving from all things
smooth and holy blooms

The Moment is gesturely-sounded in great silence
upon dimmed over-fed weedbrain
and ready purring beastly soul saying nothing

and by saying nothing
says Welcome, Enter.

BIGGEST CHEMICAL CHANGE

9A42E4DB-4BEB-4AD8-8F3D-00B258FDDAF8Perhaps we should cry
when we hear it

or at least get quiet
and turn in early

pulling the covers over
the unthinkable loss

But we don’t
because the words
ocean acidification
mean nothing to us

How could it?—It has no scent
and no memories attached to it

No Beatles’ song speaks of it
and it provokes no oxytocin
or adrenaline

Besides, I can still buy crab
down at the docks
and watch the early sunbird
settle its wings into the nest
of the sea

When they tell me the bones
of the sea are broken
and bleached

Something terrestrial
deep in me can relate

But I can’t even muster
a shrug
when they ask me to stop it

Meanwhile, I can’t stop
my own blood from curdling
when they cut off the power
for 12 hours

or my flight to Paris
is delayed
due to inclement weather

when they tell me we might lose our vineyards right here
in the golden state

or there’s a guacamole shortage

or the price of bananas and gas soars
it hits me where it hurts

I may even write a terse letter
to the editor
or some damned CEO

but not mention how we’re all doing in it together
and how I’m asking for more acid and broken bones
with each comforting word

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

READ ME THE RIVER

806892C2-7BD5-4CD1-AC8E-C5AD5419705FRead me the river, my love
the part where it meets the sea

Where the heart undone seeks to be
meandered and slicked with longing, there
let’s have a great river affair

I kept my promise to start
where the crooked creek joins the flow
and herons hum their patient art
and owls chant the night so slow

The dark arrives, too dark to read
but I made a promise to my eyes
and I just may need your sight to see

So read me the river, my sweet
into the last of autumn light

Read me the name of river’s root
where earth round and rapt receives
the foot of sky as well the pulse
of all until all’s relieved

Read me the riddled heart’s great rage
for days like these the breeze is brave
and I can feel the coming wave
bright and strong and rolling through
that long quest released in you

Read me the river, my love
the part where it meets the sea

—Ryan Van Lenning

From my new collection of poems, “Riverever”
📍Ancestral Wiyot territory

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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.

The Waves Know It

Summer pulled itself out
from under me
and slunk out to sea

slowly or suddenly
depending on whether
I showed up or not

When I belong to the moment
rather than the moment belonging to me
nothing is lost

though everything’s a shapeshifter
and I’ve been sitting with the waves
asking about the turning of the tide
of life

finding I have more in common
with the bright green sea lettuce
than I ever knew
and with the rotting algae
than I ever wanted

Let me break it down for you,
the sand bugs said.

What would it mean, the sea asked,
what would it mean to roll over
the surface of things
and roll back out again?

To keep coming back?

To touch and not take
the boulders, proud sentinels of the coast
or the love that happened to grace your shores?

There’s a moon inside everyone
according to that improbable creature Rumi
and the waves know it
but why don’t I?

I never did hear the moon complain
of its imperfect reflection
on the bay

nor the water complain
of the moon constant changing

It’s not that I wished for an easier world
it’s that I get into things
like a mussel
a barnacle of love
fastening myself to rocks called dreams

when all I really want, (I lie)
is to wave
(I lie)

to tell the truth of it.

I want to be here. I want it all.

But I can’t seem to float like kombu:
the storm comes
the storm never happened.

I want to be the barnacle,
the sun and the moon,
the wave and all the tidbit poemlets on the playa.

I dare to be and I am
what the land and sea
agree to be in me.

I wanted to be here. I wanted it all.

ALL THE WAY DOWN (Part 2)

53A8350D-0F60-4348-B4DE-51C182E34954.pngI took gravity’s word for it
and followed her curves
down

All the way down and down
further
Because I was going for full-bodied texture
and the deep belonging

Past her moat
past the dark tower
with its foreboding warnings ringing

Because my ears were tuned
to the beacon beckoning
from her inner chamber
singing rich melodies
the color of spring

In there it’s wild but warm
with overflowing
like the sands of time
or the heart of the sea

Where a man might find a treasure
or drown

So gravity slung me down
through the seasons and I didn’t resist
her trickster turns—
I was going for texture
and the deep belonging

When spring finally unfolded herself
into my lavish lap
with its golds and upturned wing-tipped lips of light
I could barely catch a glimpse—Winter’s hands had drowned me good
and I lay still and deaf like driftwood

But before the lilac closing of the day
a treasure washed ashore
beside my fallen body
textured by the wild wind

We belonged now, as all things do,
to the brighter, bigger sea