What It Calls For

1D5A688D-032D-4236-ABE4-53866763FF8AWhat it calls for is an elegant unraveling—more accurately and stunning
than ever before
sinking into an ambitious silence, robust and cunning.

Do something useful for a change—Listen
so deep and richly
the big ear wants to open through you, remembering all.

Walk your blessed seduction home. Be unfashionable
and tear the fucking ears off the false notes. Shake your feathers and invite the fox and raven.

The oak reaches into you. The waters and tribes are gathering. You won’t get far without them.

Sing hawk-woman unto you. Chant old man bear and sister dawn unto you. Drum your skeletal fragments until they dance.

That old place in you beckons. Unfold it into your bones.

Pay the tuition for your truth—with the currency of your heart barter for the next bold season

that says, I love you, may your chthonic iconic soul claim you like a throne.

-Ryan Van Lenning

Art by DruidSGardenArt:
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.


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


4E2020E1-B88B-47BD-9D98-A3EF83AA7215So you wanna know
how these things happen—
All the Whys and Whatfors?

When even now the raven rips up
a plastic tie inside my rusted chest, left in the rain for weeks

or how the cracked wind and long lost fingers of the sun compete for the attention of my skin, thin
as thick as ego

Or some word that describes a part of the bark of me that says
I’m guilty it’s true

And I don’t pretend to hide it
any more, any more than
the wind can cloak its scents, the raven his croaked curiosity

But guilt isn’t what it used to be
and the bright green how of it hides behind his eyes
if it exists at all.

New Show: Ducks on the Wind

A28029C9-B324-4251-B144-C816D7AF76BDI’ve been watching this new show:
Waves on Water, Ducks on the Wind

Such realistic characters
you don’t even think they’re actors

When the coyote comes down to the water
to drink at dusk
and otters swim upstream
you believe them
and can really relate

Because really, who hasn’t been there?

I hope they continue it for another season.

They ended with a cliff-hanger, literally–
a man was on a cliff
hanging over the water
writing this poem.


F1BE77AC-D31D-464B-9B57-8CC22C9A0327Don’t ask me why
the river and her tributaries
converged in me
pouring mountain hearsay
into the ears of the sea

Don’t beg the reasons a bear
roamed into the den of my corrugated heart
taking turns hunting
and hibernating
through the wildlands within

Why a Sitka spruce sat up straight in my soul
or a Nutcracker turned up
in my whirling blood
and squirreled secrets away
as snacks for a winter minute
is not for humans to discover

It is enough to know
my paws are alive
and my tongue arrives
at the wonder of things
spilling out like fresh meadows
after the storm
📷 : art at Arcata Healing Arts Center

He Intends To Devour Me

D3724ABF-B55C-43CD-82C3-8646506772BFHe appears in my dreams—
in the spring I kiss the grizzly on the snout
our eyes meet and I am blessed.

But in the winter he charges me from the forest edge.

And I know there is no escape:

He is wild and I am drunk
on civilization.

I wobble and then freeze in fear—he intends to devour me.

I accept my glorious annihilation.

It is the same bear.

And he is me.