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.


F8C6B24A-E26D-41FE-BAB3-103E4CC88950If you begin each chapter
with ‘and the moon comes
and the moon goes’

You, who climb horizons
even with stiff joints

will find it’s always a new world
as it’s always the old one

Your responsibilities lay
in the soil now
and with the webbed ones
caught in fear

and through the new doorways
which you pass
you’ll pick up pieces left
in your canyons so long ago

Put them in your wide-brim hat
and home in on your belonging

become an obsessionate one
like a convict who loves his fate

Tie those dreamland suns
to your dirty feet

Fill your grotto with flocks of fire
for the unspoken desire at the bottom
and all of hunger’s cousins

Forget all glamour
not worrying about who
is pulling who
Or how stunning you look
when the wind knocks you down

It is enough to receive Time’s wounds and blessings
and breathe like an ocean
one tide at a time

So, yes, let each chapter begin—
‘And the moon comes
and the moon goes’

And bear witness to each season
like a raven


21AE61A2-B62E-4751-85D0-209957B8B575A single charge—
from fabric too bright to grasp
weave your riven and ribboned robe
from the seasons
of your dusk to dusk
and your dawn to dawn.

The shocks of the age have you stunned,
it is known.

They’ve pulled at your threads
and frayed your gown,
and a dark deed or two sewn
in your sleeve can be seen—
all just proving you were here.

But by Trust’s holy vow,
be your own tailor
and wear your true cloak.

No one can stitch into the cloth of time
that original star
like you.

No one.

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.