D371275D-F614-4752-8A6B-4E657BF61C70You, are you not twisted
by that strange love of irreconcilable opposites?

And unmade by the same pull?

Untangle your middle
with a deep spring breath

and uncover your core
as a bright bell of freedom
not a knot alone

It’s in the how of the holding
and the not holding
that solves the riddle

of your dark digging
and passionate soaring

Spiral In Beauty Way

59499619_317234725878934_8046223539278174835_nLet’s spin greenly into each other

Make a playful pact and sign it
with the green ink of sunlit trust

Let’s walk the Spiral-in-Beauty Way
Proclaim Yes the shimmers

Yes all the hues, old patterns and new ripples

Yes the great green garments of summer
and its endless faces

Let’s green our minds
and pour the old songs
into each other’s heart-mouths

Unfurl into each other’s laps
until we have no more defense
against the miracles


Dedicated to the ferns, Giant swamp lantern leaves, and the letter Green
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 @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work.


EE434888-83F2-42E2-91C3-D5C07524A6D2The world is leaking circles again.
It never stopped.

At dawn you find yourself filling
with juice
and your flesh will have to expand.

It’s tight in there.

So deliciously tight it hurts with pleasure.

Your edges want to feel the kiss of the wind
and be eaten by the next set of lips passing by.

This is the order of things:
Death. Sun. Juice. Circle. Life.

That is a story for the mind.

First fruit whispers: Start
where you are

and Stretch into the circle
the Big Juice is trying to be
through you.

That is a story for the soul.


DBC59BD0-BEA0-4C5E-89AD-88467587CBC7The lichened limbs
of my fingertip soul
walk across the landscape
of your pomegranate hips

contouring your feminine
soft as granite is hard

Those inner lips launch me
as I drape my nose
across your scent
against the sunset screaming lavender
into the night of Spring’s pelvis
around the love layering lilac
and glowworm butterscotch

astride the cherry blossom marvel
my skins on all your skins

do it, scratch your destiny
into me
wrap your name around my ribs
until my tastebuds
string themselves through
the forest of all your dripping

the eye they can’t see—my eye inexplicable with which I see them all—that eye is one nose
one touch
one tongue
and lacing its talons around your cupid of necks
tasting your everything

How to Read a Poem About Spring

To be read in flat voice, ironically, with no affect. It’s dedicated to Leonard Cohen. He had a prose-poem called “How to Speak Poetry”, so consider this a tribute, parody, or whatever you want.
Stand up straight
and compose yourself

Clear your throat
and begin making a list of all the things
that signal the coming of spring

things like first robins
longer days
and sprouting buds

you might even find a daffodil
or bee on your list
but don’t try to make them buzz

Certainly don’t make your poppies sing
or your creeks talk

It is not necessary to lift your voice
on the western wind
when you describe the baby otter
having breakfast in the river

When you discuss the river
you can simply say it flows
and not import a fancy word like dance or meander

People know what rivers do
it is not necessary for you
to dress it up
or to make your words smell like lavender

Are you suggesting you appreciate spring more than anybody else?
Or you have some special way of seeing a river?

It is okay to say the sun rises,
we know that is shorthand for the truth
but if you start having some relationship
with something called the magical persimmon dawn
people won’t take you seriously

A day is a dime a dozen
so don’t swell up and round
like a soaring rain cloud
dropping hints of summer

If doves enter the picture
or a owl visits you
or the frogs return chirping—duly note it,
but don’t make a big show of it

It’s not like it all hasn’t happened before.

Catalogue the qualities that you call spring
like a grocery list—
one can of this, one package of that
ingredients of a season:

willow catkins
pink-flowering currants
nettles and horsetails
shorter nights
warmer days and such and such

Oh and can you grab a fist full o’ lupine?
I want to try a recipe
I saw on the back of a box

Read it carefully as if you were preparing
a report for the general assembly
at the united nations

Don’t get excited about the black butterflies
with orange and blue spots
or burgundy dragonflies
flitting about

You don’t have to flit about
you are not a butterfly
and if you pretend you are
things will just get confusing

So remember,
you are merely documenting

You are collecting data to be compiled
and a non-binding resolution will be issued
on whether this indeed is spring
and if so, what happened and why

Or whether spring is just another word
like papier-mâché or smokestack

Regardless, the fuschia wild flowers are not there
for you to get a hard-on over

the skin of the madrone
is not there
for you to cop a feel

Use the Latin name 𝘈𝘳𝘣𝘶𝘵𝘶𝘴 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘻𝘪𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘪
if you need something to curb your enthusiasm
and if the bark used to be made into a tea for medicinal purposes,
that is an interesting fact

but don’t put much effort into describing
how your heart leaped in childish joy at trying it

Just say, “it was bitter”
and people won’t be tempted to try things for themselves

Plum blossoms are generous with their scent
it serves a purpose
but it is embarrassing for you to be effusive
when it excites your nose

That is okay as a ten-year old
but you are not a ten-year old
you are a mature person

So stay calm and objective

People will respect you more
and that is what you are going for

What the Park Brochures Don’t Say

51FF93CA-8902-4B1F-9FCF-4C2A7220F517Here it is National Poetry Month every month, but Happy National Poetry Month nonetheless!!

Have you ever seen the color of the evening bird’s song?

It smells like joy.

It’s one of the things they rarely print
in the park brochure.

It’s probably different for everybody
but for me it’s a spring breeze
floating an orange and turquoise shell
out of an ancient canyon

It’s a red and yellow whistle
petalling through me like bubbles splitting
and swallowing themselves
out on the laurel limbs
of the twilight tree.

That’s the smell of joy—
the brochures don’t say that.

They do mention to stay on the trails
but they don’t mention that
when you walk the fallen log
stretching from shore to shore
of the redwood forest
strange things happen
with the birds
and the scents
and the hearts of the forest

They don’t say that when you see
the 7:30am fingers of the sun
interplay with the morning dew
hugging the gentle green arms
of the old oak
you will have to change your life.

Sometimes the truth gets told
and they say “Enjoy the Park”
So you do.

And the creek jumps up to kiss
your face
and the smell of joy
floods your cells
and you know you will never leave.

–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, Link in bio. My books Silence Begins Here and Wild Rose Hips will be out later this year. Follow me and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work. 🙏😀🎄💚