Thursday, August 08, 2013

poem: Taking for granted

taking for granted

no need for something more
simplicity like varnished wood
trust like a well-loved child
familiarity of years
accepting what is offered
settling inside like a leaf onto water
no urgency of seeking
no heat of pursuit
where did yearning go?
here is stillness with slight breeze
gratitude underneath like a hidden stream.

from my book, The Spaces Between

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I have a new book!

Well, how about that? I've been slowly working way on a compilation of my poems, and now it is complete. I received lovely blurbs from Robin Chapman and Pat Schneider. It is availabel on Amazon and pretty soon you'll be able to search inside.

What I love about this is that I'm putting no pressure on myself, and yet the book is miraculously complete. I hope you like it. Many of the poems I've posted here are included.

Quietly meditative, occasionally witty, and sometimes (this is a compliment) a little strange. The Spaces Between gives to the pilgrim, to the seeker, to the solitary heart in each of us a map back to ourselves. 
~ Pat Schneider, author, Writing Alone and With Others, and founder,
Amherst Writers & Artists

I loved this book. Attentive to the wild interior and natural worlds, Ann McNeal’s poems of daily meditation take us into spaces of freedom, feeling, search, and faith: the now where “without expectation/ something opens.”  ~ Robin Chapman, author of Smoke and Strong Whiskey and the eelgrass meadow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Death of a Poet, an Appreciation

Death of a Poet—
                        for Wisława Szymborska

There’s a hole where you used to be.
No, that’s not quite right,
there’s a lot remaining—
in your poems’ wit and compassion,
and perhaps in your apartment—
shelves of books, well-worn pots,
dishes both cracked and shiny,
bedclothes, plants, a cat dish,
but all these objects will disperse
and roam to other places,
find other hearts or at least homes.
The memories of you remain with
your friends, your admirers
who knew you daily or never saw you once.
I don’t know your life, just the reflections
of it in your poems,
the bumblebee bumping the windowpane,
the soul that is there, as you said, sometimes
then vanishes when it’s time to do taxes
the percent of people who deserve compassion, 99,
who are mortal, 100.
There’s a hole where you used to be
you who had the nerve and generosity
to give us such fire and ice.
I hope to catch your spirit by the sleeve
before you leave entirely,
whisper Thank you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Poem

When the first light

of winter solstice
touches the doorframe
just a hint of pink
and then the wall
eggshell delicate light
infant day asking to be held
another year turning
how strange these eyes
have seen sixty-seven
such beginnings and still
each one is more
unknown than the last
from my book, The Spaces Between

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


You don’t remember it, my children
the endless trek across the dry places
the lone tree with a pump beneath
a few handfuls of grass greening.
One clear Mason jar full of water.
Stop! You must not drink a drop.
This is what you don’t know—

You must pour it all down the shaft
your parched mouth watching it disappear
into the workings below, the leather cuffs
and steel pistons. Then you pump.
The steel shrieks and groans.
Nothing comes. Despair closes
your throat. Keep pumping.

More resistance now
your arm protests
then great gushes
speed over your hands
cool your feet
open your throat.

In the end you must fill the jar.
Leave it for the next traveler.

This poem was published in Solace in So Many Words, edited by Ellen Wade Beals, Weighed Words Press. Also in my book, The Spaces Between

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Pond in April

You crunched last-year’s leaves
underfoot, down to the pond’s edge,
sat in the clear spot at twilight
and the hush was a bowl
of soft light placed gently
over the water, bugs
skittering the surface, the gentle
high shish of the stream entering
and leaving by the beaver dam,
hemlocks bowing, and the high
dead snags holding up the sky,
one heron watching you with legs
astraddle. Slowly you painted
yourself into the picture, breath
dropping lower. There was
nothing more you desired,
nothing needed, nothing omitted
and not a thing happened
all that evening.
Published in a volume of meditation poetry, Moments of the Soul, now out on Amazon, also in my book, The Spaces Between

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes the breeze

from the north touches
the skin of your forearm
and suddenly thoughts are gone
and it is only this moment
smoothing your mind
like a gentle wave
stroking sand, repeating
now, now.

from my book, The Spaces Between