9330F7E8-23FD-4F0E-9DBE-C50651F8E374It is not an indictment—
though it feels like one—
when the noise begins to ebb
and those first clear words
bubble up from your well

sharpened with deep time
like a dagger.

For eons you stayed busy
for lifetimes ignored
the vowels of your own voice.

But when it booms from below
and floats to the surface
you know you must change
your life.

It is tempting to whip
the back of your soul
for not knowing.

But that is not
the hand of love.

Fine, you didn’t know. You couldn’t hear.

Fine, you abandoned yourself.
You abandoned lots of things.

You filled your ears
with others’ bells, your eyes with ugly things.

You fueled your fears
with storied spells, your skies with wobbly wings.

That was yesterday. Not today.

Today you choose. Now it begins—
scoop up those sounds
and quench your thirst.

Walk your bright autumn truth home.


51F2D59B-7AC1-4AA8-8D80-D9CC913A65A9You’re not getting out
until the truth forms a dawn in you.

I’ll gather up the finest moon
and lather colors on the edge

I’ll blow a new wind through the dunes
through all your sunset silhouettes

I’ll scatter several shooting stars
among your pretty confused heads.

But truth be told
you’ll not get out
until the final truth can shout.

The gate is locked, the gate is closed!
It won’t open until all’s disclosed.
The gate is closed, the gate is locked!
it won’t open until all’s unblocked—

the inner chamber where waters start
the ears to hear the healer’s art
the hands to hold the truest friend
the eyes to see the patterns end.

This is the Tsunami zone
where the taste of love,
the very pulse of life
carries the threat of drowning

You’ll want to flee to higher ground
where everything seems safe and sound

You’ll want to keep one foot out
the moment’s door, to feed the doubt

The secret’s there, you know its truth
For so long we’ve been telling you:

To stay in you and ride the wave
to blessed be and boldly brave
and flip that mighty mermaid’s flip
until shapes of love form your lips

the waves still crash upon your shore
but not the conflict any more.

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. My book of mystical poems, Silence Begins Here, and book of love and erotic poetry, Wild Rose Hips, and Book of Rivers: Headwaters and Heartrocks will be out later this year. Follow me for mythopoetic inspiration and @wildnatureheart for my heart-centered nature connection & 1-on-1 inner/outer wilderness work. 🙏🌍🤠🦊🌲💚

Tell the Truth About the Season

B400FC0F-011D-4760-9E60-DCDA3352B1DAIt is important to tell the truth
about the season.

You can try to live summer in the winter
or morning at midnight under the full moon
but eventually, the season is revealed.

It’s Fall.
The world takes a deeper breath
and a sacred pause.

It’s raining yellow alder leaves
they’ve slipped on their autumn coats overnight
dropping yesterday
to the ground like an old story
that no longer makes sense.

They know when to let go
offering the best of their beauty
as gifts to the land
and the next season,
each leaf an invitation
to follow our own turning.

It’s Fall.

The world takes a deeper breath
and a sacred pause
to peer backward and forward
a moment of transition.

We will harvest the things that can be harvested.

But we know the things that must fall
must fall
for the new ground to be prepared
with the composted remains
of what no longer serves.

It’s Fall.
Can we finally tell the truth about the season?

In the midst of the big race,
the world takes a deeper breath
and a sacred pause
while the leaves of the empire fall
out of our hair.

You know of which empire I speak—
the one whose summer’s shoulders
brought great gifts:
all bright
and fast and furious
and juicy and sexy and convenient.

And more. It always brought more.

Whether the more was what we needed
or not.

But it promised too much
and took too much
and now the Great Unraveling has arrived.

There will be a buttoning up.

A shrinking of the shining afternoon.

A shedding.

It’s a moment to tell the truth about.

Perhaps we fear winter
because we don’t yet see
what new spring awaits

but press your ear to the ground
of your being
and you will hear:

seeds of the new dream
already planted
in the soil of our gentle, beating hearts
seeds of belonging
planted in Deep Time.

And we acknowledge finally
there’s no way to spring
but through the lengthening dark and cold
and wet and unknowing.

Let’s tell the truth: it’s Fall.

The world takes a deeper breath
and a sacred pause
and if we allow it,
so do we.

Back Into the Channel

6AF140C4-0AB9-4281-81E8-B0E6F560CD0AI step back into the channel
of things
relinquishing the shore
and the destination

and all those goosebumps that climb up
my forearm and send tentacles down over my shoulders
into the mother river of my spine

are messages from the one who becomes
and no translation is possible here

I’m going for human this time
stretched from holdfast to the basement
of the heart

but it’s human to have a dream of spring
under the skin

and I’m going for human
quitting all argument with the vast otherness
and surrendering all the black notes
to the sun

but why oh why is the seed of truth
so difficult to sow
when even now I sing off key

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 a storm

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

yet I’ve heard and not merely heard
I’ve walked and not merely walked
I’ve lived in that country, that place,
where there is no guarantee but the great river’s flow
and that moment is where 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 undammable energies
to hail upon the four kingdoms
to cast into stone all unworthies
then break them to pieces
for not being…what?

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

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

guiding more silent than midnight

and I, that I that keeps slipping
keeps slipping into them,
and out of them

And back in again…


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
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.

Memorial Day Shadows

shadowsOut on the roof, where truth might be heard
closing on midnight, sharp actions and words
Both were led from the past to the here
by walking the path with footsteps of fear

Shadows that come and dance in the night
some come for fun and some come to fight
Shadows that come to dance in the day
flee from the light, but stay for the play

Intuition’s the path to the edge
intuition leads the birds to the ledge
Intuition leads one to the lie
one to the truth, and one to the guy

Pain grabs her collars to shake out the why
though no answers given can satisfy
the crack down the middle has gone to the core
whatever existed, exists no more

Her fist in his stomach, that fist on his arm
had the flavor of physical harm
but bruises that form on bodily parts
weigh next to nothing against those of the heart

Stories have legs built big and bold
and there are those that are never told
in attics with tiny cracks in the floor
flawed foundations and secret doors

Trust jumped out the window and ran
into the abyss away from the man
But trust long ago had fled and roamed
and perhaps it never really made a home

So the edge was built into things from the start
the end of colors that had drawn these two hearts

It is a night to remember, and a night to forget
to hold with love and heal from it