FIREWOOD

456DA4C1-C378-4C88-BAB5-E2BB493D9918Chainsaws are not the instrument of love
its noise does not a sonnet make, and yet
’twas earnest hearts that split the fir to chunks
a loving zip that made a cord of trunks

The sounds of the tools of worker bees
hastens through boughs of autumn trees
a buzz that carries a bold force through wood
as much as through their bones and blood

So cutting to the facts of things: the sweat
and dust amidst the sun and fumes, the threat
of falling discs of log and muscles tense
screaming saw and skin, the pungent scents

No easy piles of gold are these, but stacks
and acts of axes from those heaving backs—
such is the controlled violence of the men
cleaving trees that will warm a winter den

All the freedom’s found in bodies roving
past the paths and beyond fences roaming
Chainsaws are not the instrument of love
its noise does not a sonnet make, and yet…
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(Dedicated my buddy Aaron and Robert Frost. Yes I’m smelling the freshly cut (already fallen) fir, so foresty sweet.)A526EB86-D3BC-4C1D-AE06-89DC299EC39D

 

BY WHAT WIND

39722949-8C82-48EF-8BEC-DB91CFBFE7B4

Like limbs thrown down and wildly thrashed
a harvest of a mighty breath
the soft cables of our bond
so quickly cut, so soon withdrawn

By what savage gale overthrown
or by what wrenching circuit blown
this force that together drew
now splits us into more than two?

Oh rage that fells the solid spruce
and rips the redwood roots so loose!
Only a dizziness remains
debris from feral hurricane

It is not yet known why we agree
to that first long, unfathomed fall
when a deeper one is guaranteed
and tied to the end of it all

Or why, with that first flirty start
we court our own slow aching heart
Or do we give wind consent
to our own imminent descent?

—Ryan Van Lenning

 

IN THIS DEEP

93FC754B-79DC-4382-88D7-A1CC22C300B5What could send me down this far
But your wild path bizarre?
Who could bring me down this deep
But your crooked steady stream?

All bowed over and needles fine
You curvy as the number nine
Stitched together in woodly scents
to pitch me in here like a tent

Red o red o green o green
I wondered if you heard my screams
Flow and free and green serene
I wondered if you’d seen my dreams

Branched like brooks like roots like lungs
Inside me run your ancient tongues
Your hermit thrush to tuck me in
Then golden-green to wake again

Redly barked and greenly packed
I wondered if you’d bring me back
The world’s noise had got me good
Until you whispered through my blood

What could send me down this far
but your wild path bizarre?
Who could bring me in this deep
But your steadfast summoning?

—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. 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.

THEY JUST KEPT LETTING ME IN

A5951042-2FCA-4B2A-9B04-DFF3FDFB46CBI finally stood in the lush truth of it.

I never walked so slow, never ate
so many trees
savored so many stars.

Dawn hung around my neck
like a sigil
the river stones emblems of belonging.

Some I in me had said, I can’t live
like this…but an owl replied, Yes.
Yes you can—an archetype
is breathing through you.

They just kept letting me in.

Everywhere I didn’t knock.
No keys.
No doors.
Ears as windows.

The living sky my heart-home roof.

Only the silent here of things
on the back of the map
where all the real places are.

–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 or on Amazon or Indiebound. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poems, Wild Rose Hips, will be out later this year. Follow me and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & inner/outer wilderness work.

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!!
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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
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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 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. 🙏😀🎄💚

I’m the Slug Sweet as the Spring

EAEF32BD-7F4A-4DAE-837F-4716CEAADD46I’m debris that’s breaking down
And building up the wild woods

I’m naked as a rotting log
No things to prove or shoulds

I’m a thousand tiny broken twigs
That no one will ever see

I’m a croaking raven raving mad
Atop the Doug fir tree

I’m the shadow in the late March sun
Casting longer days

I’m the fern that fucks itself
And the spores that float away

I’m the wound that slowly heals
with the balm of time

I’m that would that would its could
if could could find its rhyme

I’m the spider building webs
Too thin for eyes to catch

I’m the bird that sings its songs
To urge its eggs to hatch

I’m the mud upon the feet
That brings the wisdom down

I’m the duff as thick as hearts
the man as hard as ground

I’m the lichen laying layers
Over eons in the wind

I’m the prayer in vernal air
On which all things depend

I’m the slug sweet as the spring
The warbler warmth that morning brings

I’m the countless needles knowing
Where to fall and seek the slowing

I’m the earth who’s always turning
and the sun who’s always burning

I’m the beast, the belly, and the biting
the bone and bile, the whim and wilding

The untold truth and whole damn suite
I’m the poem you have to eat