20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers



Weekend hair falls in tendrils
     around your face as you relax in the sun
     I brush it back, not knowing when I’ll
     have this chance again

For when you go
     you run away so fast, that I barely
     feel a breeze, and, laughing,
     you don’t look back,
     not even for a moment,
     though I never take my eyes off you

I see you from a deeper place
     I feel your joy and sorrow,
     I know your anguish
     that life isn’t what you had hoped

     I know these things
     and I think you realize it too

I can help you heal, but you are
     stubborn and playful,
     the wind in your hair
     feels too freeing in this moment

     I patiently hold you in my gaze,
     knowing sometimes
     that can be healing enough

©SpiritLed 2014

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Birth Day

In a parlor plain and
solemn, a small crowd huddles
Tomorrow I celebrate
one more year, today
I attend my friend’s
final life celebration

Funerals produce in me
a subtle sense of asphyxiation
and I sit in the quiet chapel,
in this room full of acquaintances
and strangers, barely breathing
for fear I might explode
into unending tears

But the moon rising in my heart
speaks of fullness and cycles,
and creates in me a curious juxtaposition

and a shift happens, a veil lifts to reveal
awareness that death is life anew,
that as one celebrates birth
another now possesses a freedom
that earthly souls can only imagine

Rest in Peace, my friend,
and also my yesterday self,
for today we both start anew
and tomorrow as well,

fulfilled in the knowledge
that neither death nor birth
signify an end or a beginning

but rather each day is a new path
in our personal eternity,
one more step in the journey
of Divine life

© SpiritLed 2014


When Silence Ends

When, as a child, did you play happily
by the stream, and come singing home,
passionately sharing your adventures,
only for the beloveds to tell you, “Quiet!”

And when, in your classes, did you
confidently speak your truth, answer
their questions, paint your construction
paper masterpiece,  and the trusteds told you,
“It’s not good enough.”

And when did you feel the whisper of spirit
in your soul, gently guiding you on your way,
and you shared, and they laughed?

And when did you stop listening, painting, writing, speaking, trusting? 

And when will you decide that the darkness has
lasted too long, that the  passion of a new day
can no longer wait, lest  you tear free from your
own skin where you’ve been confined all these years?

That stumbling across stones and briars,
feet cut and bleeding, is preferable to the safe
and righteous path, where no pain, in fact
nothing at all, makes cuts into your soul?

When will you decide that fear of words
without real meaning will no longer be the
prison walls that demand freedom of the captor?

And when will you stoke the flames, when will you once
again tend to the spark, blow the breath of life into
the still-smoldering ashes, collect the branches and
twigs that have fallen in your path, burn them on
your altar, and fuel the dawning of reclaimed light?

© SpiritLed 2014

Missing Her

She didn’t wear perfume, it bothered her.
But o, her fragrance as she entered any room.
My mother lifted any place to heights anew
by being present. How I miss her belly laughs,
her care for others, and her strength of self.
Yes, I have had to set upon the shelf
the music of her coming to my house,
the look that told me, Honey, I love you.
I harbored anger toward my father after they divorced.
She always told me, Please forgive him. It will set you free.
How wise my mother was. I didn’t understand
this until after she had died. Please, Mom, I want you now to know
I have forgiven him. How right you were, and we undid
the tangles of the years. It was because of you.
Is Thank you good enough?
Of course not. Your soft ways of teaching brought the lessons
gently into terra firma consciousness.
Funny, I the teacher, was the taught.



She was a delicate songbird; a sensitive creature treasured by her parents. In their nest she snuggled, loved tenderly. She never ventured forth to fly and didn’t know how. Her parents told her it wasn’t safe to leave the nest and she believed them.

She had so much joy for life and sang songs that filled the forest with beautiful melodies. She didn’t mind the nest at all and as she grew bigger, she simply danced around on nearby branches. Her songs attracted many other birds that wooed her; she ended up choosing a mate that loved her songs the most. They created a nest on a nearby branch.

She never felt the need to fly. One day, she was puzzled that she had stopped singing most of her melodies. She didn’t understand why her nest felt sad and empty even though she had a mate. She wasn’t sure what to do, and thought perhaps if she filled her nest with babies her songs would return. 

Soft lullabies soon filled the forest as she tenderly nurtured her first baby, and then another one that followed. But when her first baby became sick and died, she was certain she would never sing again. She curled up in the bottom of her nest, and her other babies snuggled close to her. Slowly she stirred, and although she could not sing, she pretended she could. Then she poured every ounce of love in her heart into her babies. 

The years went by and she became an older bird. Now her babies were quite large and challenging. But even though she didn’t use her wings to fly, she used them as a large canopy to comfort her family. 

Sometimes, she tried hard to remember the enchanted forest from her childhood. Even though she had little faith, she often looked at the sky and searched for a sign. At her lowest point, she closed her eyes and prayed for her sadness to lift. 

She wasn’t even aware that her prayers were answered until the time when she was given hope. As the blessing of hope was sprinkled softly into her soul, she felt herself sparkle inside. It became time to sing again. At first, her song melodies were hesitant and hoarse. But gradually, her voice became stronger and more confident, and soon all of her songs returned. 

It was with her happiness, that she had the realization that she was blessed. She wasn’t sure why or how it had happened, but she knew that it came to her when had completely given up. 

The more she sang, the more oppressive her nest became. It was time. She took her large babies and started to let them know how being in the safety of their nest was not what life was about. She wanted a better life for them. Although her babies were quite large, she knew that they could fly even though she never had. She told them it was worth the risk and gradually they began to practice. As she watched them, she was pleased. 

She thought she was too old to remember the beautiful forest vistas, but now she realized that she still had joy for life. Since she had never flown, she wasn’t sure what would happen if she allowed herself to jump into the sky. Although it was scary, she wanted to take the chance even if it meant plummeting to the earth below. 

She realized how unhappy she was because she preferred to fall out of the sky rather than stay forever in the safety of her nest. 

As she readied herself to fly, she was sad for everyone who thought she was abandoning her nest. She loved her large babies, but knew they would still be a part of her life even if she flew. It was harder to leave her mate, but she was certain they would both be happier over time. He needed to fly also. 

When she imagined herself flying, it was breathtaking for her. It sustained her throughout her difficult days as she mustered up the courage she needed to spread her wings and leap into the sky. She didn’t want her children to see her sad and afraid. Even if she fell she hoped they would always remember her courage. 

Now she could dream about flying and she was joyful. As she prepared herself to soar, or maybe even plummet, she had certainty about where she would be flying. She planned to fly to a destination where she could share her blessing of hope. Her message was how it was possible to sing again and to fly even when life held heartbreak. 

It didn’t matter anymore to her if she fell, because she had already flown so far in her dreams. 

Read more about my journey at: http://myjourneysinsight.com/

© 2012 by Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Please Come to Boston

The brilliant days and starlight nights

were so long ago, the remain

only as misty memories,

glimmers of old hope,

faded dreams.

The person I longed to be

and somehow never quite made it.

The slices of life, however brief,

when I did live my dream,

feel the freedom,

see the stars from San Bernardino

on a hot August night.

That song always reminds me if those days,

I hear it in grocery stores or random radio searches.

Please come to Boston in the Springtime…

Please come to LA to live for ever..

The dream never happened, yet

the memory remains.

The Little Girl Is Now Woken Up

A sweet rippling sound echoing through the confined walls of the room, a girl wakes up due to the resulting disturbance from the sleep she was subjected to, the sleep- an escape from her pain, an escape to the realm of the dreams but now she is forcefully brought back to the realities of life. She is being forcefully woken up by the disturbance as a result of the rippling sound, though sweet, but a lot more agonising for the girl- whose name is unknown- no one knows who she is. She was just found in the corner of a street, her hair ruffled, her dried tears glistening under the bright sun. She is the girl no one knows anything about and thereby seen as a threat, she was confined to further tortures of life even when her earlier tortures are not known- she is facing the ordeal of getting confined, becoming a prisoner where she is given ample food and water but no freedom. This is her staying place where she lives but dies every moment; the air being lacking in the joys and pleasures she would have otherwise wanted. The little girl is now woken up by the disturbance- she is now again prone to the tortures, subjected to the pain- she now considers the way of her life. The little girl is woken up, the echo- the disturbance of the rippling sound, is now gone- disappeared in the air. The little girl is now woken up.


Put Down the Scythe

                HAVE YOU EVER…..

  Moved through life as if with a scythe?

  Causing pain, causing retreat…defeat.

  Do you ever sit and ponder your havoc?

  Do you ever pray not just for forgiveness,

  but for the rebirth of those left behind?

  Partly to assuage your guilt, partly to

  give life again to a lovely heart; you lay 

  in the dark praying for good things to

  befall the sweetness that is not yours.

  Put down your scythe!  

  Pray they open the door to their happiness.


Let it loose.

Flee from bondage like a dove.

Soar like an eagle.


It rattle the bars of the cage

A metal trap

It scrapes the sides, it flits from

Top to bottom to left to right


For an escape.

A gap.

A glint of precious light


It yearns for liberation.


Knock down the barriers

Towering over your heart,

Closing in

Don’t you feel the claustrophobia?


Knock down the barriers

See the beautiful sights that you have missed out on

Above all


Release your soul.



view more at www.sorrowsinaserenade.wordpress.com


The National Underground Railroad Museum & Freedom Center

After hearing Maya Angelou speak this morning at the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio I visited the National Underground Railroad Museum & Freedom Center and it was a powerful experience. Pay special attention to the Haunted Slave Poem because it was written in the 1800′s and shows the power of poetry to transform society. I hope these photographs inspire you all!























Do You Remember That Freedom to Roam?

My Aunt on a camping trip just after the War. The trailer was made by my Uncle after he saw one of the originals and reconstructed his from his recollections. Doesn’t my Aunt just look so content? Do you remember that sort of freedom to just be in love and that unencumbered freedom to roam? Perhaps now in retirement you enjoy it. Someday…..


20 Lines A Day Poetry Challenge

Today is  a special day.

It is our nations birthday.

There will be gatherings of fun for some

and others will have none.

There is sure to be a lot of noise

along with the squeals of joy

from not only the girls  but also from the boys.

What ever group you find yourself in

as the sky grows dark and then lights up,  again.

Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday America



remember those days

when you were a kid

not caring about gobbling up

5 candy bars

all at once

or eating a whole bag of Doritos

before dinner?

it was that wanton “gall of it all”

that carefree “live in the moment”

attitude that you long for again

children are the essence of life

the ones that adults admire most

they represent freedom

freedom of spirit

freedom of movement

freedom of the soul

to exist as fluid as a river

and as blazing as a wildfire


remember those days.

© [Jeanette Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com], [2012]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, artwork, or photo’s without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Jeanette Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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