And you have the rest
of the day
to fit in

and make your face do the things
that other faces do

and your mouth utter
all the things
that aren’t your own

so why not take this
silent blue moment
with the heron

to wake up the day together
with your true face of delight?

The stale masks will still be there
hanging on the wall at noon

alongside the others, judgment
and disappointment

in the afternoon you can follow
the story of the others

who are following someone else’s story
and in the evening you can join

the others in the ritual
of draining the light from your eyes

But for now,
put in your eyes
of dawn and dew

and let your bright peace
unveil itself as the fog recedes

your bones and what holds them up
have been waiting
so long for it

the long night’s last star
doesn’t seem to mind

and the day’s star might even join you


A savage pulse
asking of you
more than you think
you can handle

lives here.

Did you expect to love the world and not die daily

from the sundry shocks
both sharp and subtle?

Did you expect to find
on the edge of every granite cliff
a pillow for a weary head?

A sweetness in every mouthful bit off from the big loaf?

Surely the wintered sun
and rough and gripping tide
disabused you
of such sentimentality

Yet surely the same sun
and the lunatic arriving
of a faultless sea
taught you, Beautiful Gambler,
how a lover shows up
with an unconditional caress

But if you’ve yet to find
the capital C in celebration
in the seed of each moment

strap the searchlight
around your ribs

and shuffle like a crescent moon
over all your little resistances

your feet becoming wiser
with each toe-stub
in your heart

until they become sandpipers dancing at dawn
around the fingers of the sea
knowing exactly where to go

Sip the Season Darkly – Within the Cave Something Pulses

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…

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.


18CED582-3BD6-4CD9-B5A6-0ADB0A167F76There’s absolutely no way I can be a sun god
if I’m not simultaneously a dung beetle.

I’m no part-time lover—there’s no way
I can be one of the great lovers
without claiming my name
from the center of the earth

without pulsating the No-Name
from the center of the moment
the grand pulse hidden
in the everything

No grand ascent without the dark
and mysterious descent,
no flying without digging.

I’m not here to flee
from parts of you
I think I can’t meet in myself.

I stand here with arms outstretched
and a wild syllable of trust
on my lips
comprehensible only to those
with the great longing pouring in
and out of their cracked ear-hearts.


0222CFEE-40A4-4FBD-9290-B6122EF7DA8EI. Ripe For Descent

All the world long has descent
on its mind
and me with it:
the freckled hands of autumn
and fickle lure of love
pull me down
with the western star.

Who am I to argue
when the trajectory has gravity on its side?

II. Without The Journeyed Dark

There never was a sunrise
without the journeyed dark.

There never was a spring
without the starried night.

There never was a buried treasure
without the sunken ship.

There never was a deepest love
without the sink or swim.

III. Pace of the World

I’m of a pace with the world now.

Who am I not to follow the wind
and the sun
the leaves and the season’s decadent fragrance
into the dark?

It’s a different kind of allure
at the bottom of things
inside out and beautiful.

Decay is a gift from the soul
of the world
and I will not be caught
being a full-time harvester
no ever-ascender.

The soil needs rest,
washed with winter rains
from the dark halls of the heart.

IV. Her Depths Now

These are her depths now, villain!

There was a time when light,
any light,
was a buoy or wonderful distraction.

Now it is an atrocity,
a thieving beast
robbing me of darkness.

These are her depths now, villain,
I scream at the sun.

Have you no thought to buried treasures?

Are you one of the light-brigade,
ever casting gold through your fingers?

Today, with the wind’s decree
and the consent of the moon

I hook myself willingly, even eagerly

To the Sun-Addicts, I say:
I now follow the moon,
stalking in the territory of the night songs
meeting all the beasts born
of the soil.

V. Dark Mirrors

Yes, the bottom of the sea is cruel.

But it is not my first labyrinth,
nor my last.

A song echoes “I know my powers” from the cavernous
sky below.

Just the right amount of forgetfulness
and remembering fills the chambers.

Then, from the coldest corner,
the darkest thing grabs me.

VI. The End of the Descent

The end of the descent is self-embrace.

The bottom of the well
is the face of love
looking back.

It catapults me to the inside
of a cherry blossom
just this side of spring.
This poem is 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. Follow me for mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work. 🙏🌍🤠🦊🌲💚

A Sun God Worth His Shine


Have you ever seen such a stretch?

Such dawn to dusk dancing
with the widest arms possible?

Waltzing horizon to horizon
like some intoxicated sun god
I hold her,

A sugared Heart
A spoon of love
A gaze long-lingered
A liquid touch
A peachy taste
An arched back
Words so wet with flirty wit

With earthy eyes and happy hips
dancing horizon to horizon
like some High Goddess

she plants seeds with each step
in the the soil of me
that sprout arms
to hold her—
even the dark parts
at the bottom I see as shining shadows:

Reactions born of wounds
The ancient distrusts
The golden grief of mistakes
or paths not taken
the Daphne and Artemis in her fleeing

But also the Persephone and Demeter in her growing,
and Aphrodite and Athena as well

She is no simple girl
but a feast of elements

and I gladly consume her everything

Shall I shine on peaceful open meadows alone?

No, I’m of giant appetite
savoring the world
in the whole
and in the pieces

visiting the buffets of peak
and darkest valley
devouring shadows

and when the dancing is done
at the end of one world

I rest and return
bigger and brighter
upon the morning

As any sun god worth his shine
will do

It is impossible not to love
in times like these

When there are so many horizons to explore

—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 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.