A60E4815-227F-47B7-AAA2-BC0D3DC506FBLet the voices speak for themselves

the undulating mentors called waves and trees

the choir of storms in your pulse

the endless still lake holding it all
in the basement of your being

The black pebble is your ally
the hidden footprint
of the mid-autumn wind your friend
carrying the next turn within

So why then are you pretending
to be so alone?

Become a true citizen of earth
and apprentice yourself to the convergence and the breakdown

Receive that sometimes fierce thrust, sometimes gentle caress of a world wanting
to open you up

With no small talk, but questions
that make you bigger
by the mere asking of them

Yes, change you must—You accept that
but can you surprise even your secret self
at your grand unfurling?

Lean into the raucous conversation.

Can you overhear yourself?

Are you startled by those dangerous utterances
flying from your endless beautiful cavern,
like bats hungry for dusk,
the hour of change?

-Ryan Van Lenning


DE3C650C-6354-40BF-AA51-E444D1003127That I chose the well-brambled life
Or it chose me when I untamed

That I lived a well-Warbled life
Or it lived through me just the same

But time there was when I knew not
the moon nor rivers by their names

And there was an era when ears were dim
no trills and chirps amidst the din

A time forlorn with all the dams
at every slightly hurdled rock

when feet and heart were weary weak
and all my paths and trails blocked

But then I ate the mountains whole
or they ate me when once I walked

That then I heard the rivers’ flow
Soft in bending unflagging song

That then I sipped the heron slow
Fished in water for silence deep

And cast my line in patient art
to catch the things for us to keep


35D03E9D-A61C-4E22-86DA-A9BE3909CDCDDid I go wild in the woods
or find merely
a measure of meaning
bright as a storm?

It’s not something one speaks about publicly.

Yet I recall growing dawns
on me like leaves
such rivers running through me

Something exquisite Becoming both green and grey
in the body. Oh, I could dance
and dance

and never reach the bottom of the tree.

The world was a ladybug, a lichen left to be.

All was rainbow, Everything
a universe
the poison oak a guardian
and ox-eyed daisies lazy free
the winter sky, abundant muddy me.

I had my habits—Living
on my in-and-out breath

Under a mushroom
Over a bough, bowed with moss.

Seasons saw me.

I drew a few to my hearth
Foxes from their hidden dens
Bears from hibernation
Falcons from their perches

Feral ones fleeing cages.

Conversations with the least of them,
the most of them.

I had no scrap of saddle
No undue doing
No yoke of note
but her sweetest voice.

Dropped my dreaming stone
in the creek
and fleshed it out so still.

Still…What eyes opened! What I opened?

Where else could my heart stretch so wide
But the path past the gates
away from the machine?

Will I ever find that clearing again
smack in the middle of things
wild in the woods?

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.