4904FBAB-58B5-4D58-9002-33888EEBBA51Why oh why is the seed of truth
so difficult to sow

when truth be told
I want to sleep, I want to not live
in some big love dream

but close my ears and fall
like hail in this storm

down on the weak, the past,
the false notes, the hollow bones of me

Yet even now I sing off key

Because I’ve heard (and not merely heard)

I’ve walked (and not merely walked)

I’ve lived in that country
where there is no guarantee
but the great river’s flow—
in those wild green moments
I live like a king

Still, why should I trust you,
big dream heart?

whispering calm assurances
when you just might be
my ancient superstition

you must know my need to rage
and rampage
across the landscape

I want my undammed energies
to crash upon the four kingdoms
of myself

to cast into stone
all unworthies
then break them to pieces
for not being…what?

Everything is what it is

and my guttural utterances
are silver-lipped thunder
striking terrible certainties
upon the world

But you, my mystery,
amidst all that,
you merely open
your dumb, soft hands

more silent than midnight

and I, that I that keeps slipping

keeps slipping into them,
and out of them

and back in again…


A651C58F-7769-4D74-BF94-0466BDF1EE85My riotous and radiant blood, indecipherable force of life, open-handed offering.

A falling forward
in bright brave trust.

Each season a holy journey.

Each breath a miracle,
a letting go,
a sacred, stunning dawn.


53C98672-864F-4F71-A0CF-F5F43EAABC3EWhen bear came to evict me
I was almost ready to surrender

I knew there were new stages
I needed to be on/in
new abodes to inhabit

But what I never told you
or any one
but grandmother spruce
and the swamp lanterns hugging
the shoulder of the creek
that lent me flow

was I’d had an argument
with the gods
of love and fate

I’d had an argument with everyone

when the cold rains thundered
I thundered in return
my most furious curiosity
asking the age old questions

I made demands, I made myself
a fool, fierce and wet

I knew bear was coming
for he’d been arriving for some time

In my dreams
when he gave me a spring kiss
on the snout
and a winter warning
from the forest edge

I wobbled and froze in fear

He blessed me on the river,
and I stepped inside his fur
teaching me to shapeshift
under summer suns

and now, in my home, which was his first
we caught each other’s eyes
and I finally surrendered
as we came out of hibernation.

I’m becoming a bear
and I will be devoured
by a bear
at the end of this in-breath
this love-bud
this finger-wide moment

The puncture I gladly accept—
Not only accept but celebrate
as a fang of love.

For he, this great teacher,
fulfills his purpose

alongside River
and the OakSong of Old
beside Eagleworm and SisterOwl
and the delicate melody of Moon and Thrush
the hide and seek of Fox
the stealth of Bobcat

I won’t be found dying
without my purpose punctured

There is no escape—He is wild
and I am drunk on civilization

I accept my glorious annihilation.


DFA0D263-80B9-4A54-ABD7-147498E5206ELet’s walk the Spiral-in-Beauty Way

Let’s spin greenly into each other
making a grinlit pact

signed with the green ink
of sunlit trust flowing

Proclaim Yes the shimmers

Proclaim Yes all the hues
of the ancient patterns and new ripples
of love and texture

Yes the great green garments
of the season and its endless faces

Let’s green our minds
and pour the old songs into each other’s laps

until our heart
has no more defense
against the miracles

-Ryan Van Lenning

From the collection ‘Riverever’ forthcoming early 2020.


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.