20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

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The Nostalgia of Wood


Wood-the forts we made, with dad’s help among pines and poplars, the smoke arising from a campfire in autumn, holding a sleepy child in front of a fireplace, a tree in the forest, charred, but still alive.

A fallen tree makes me wonder how large the tree was when I was born,  if my grandpa climbed it, maybe planted it.  When I see wood, I realize that it may have been here before me and may be here long after me. In all of its’ fragility, wood seems to speak of endurance.  The lines within a log upon the ground, they speak of drought, or rainy years, they carry the voice of the creatures who lived when each log was a tree.

I see “my” crows standing in a snag above my house, waiting for me to put out scraps and then calling to their comrades. I see my grandpa hauling in logs for grandma’s wood stove. I stack railway ties to make a wall for my garden. I inhale the fragrance of new wood in a young house, waiting patiently for memories yet to come.

Wood is a diary, an album of our being. I touch it gently, reminded of all the meanings it holds

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Keeping Watch

I’m emptied out of words again today,
and don’t know where they’ve gone. What should I say?
I cannot force them to come out to play.
They won’t come back no matter what I pay.

They’ve gone to secret hiding places deep
within a wood. I’m not allowed to creep
around the outer limits, but I keep
my eyes wide open and I do not sleep.

Keeping watch

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Campfire Trance

Winding Down Time…The Campfire (SwittersB)

Usually the end of the day ritual,

that starts with the collection of kindling.

Someone fancies themselves the fire maker, 

the magician of paper, kindling and fiddling.

With bigger pieces of wood and even bigger stories.,

the family gathers ’round.  One stays out of the smoke 

as graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate

are presented for s’mores. The fire maker has now

stockpiled the night’s supply of wood. The coals build beneath 

the wood, glowing hot, pulsing orange. Sparks jet upward and 

sometimes outward. In time the food is done, the heads turn

upward to gaze past the trees toward the dense stars above.

Ghost stories are shared for the young. The story teller captures 

their imaginations at first, later they giggle.

Later the group grows quiet and turns inward. Eyes now look

into the fire, into the shimmering coals. Some poke long sticks

into the fire waiting for the end to ignite. The fire tender

oversees that no one collapses his nurtured fire. Lost in

thought, you feel the heat upon your face, your knees and shins.

Some move back a foot or so. Eventually, someone feels the

trance, the eyes stare, then they close. Time for bed. Some

retire, some stay around the fire, to talk in low tones.

The smells, the sounds, the visions, the memories combine

into the Campfire Trance. 


This Pencil


this pencil is my savior, it is my voice

this pencil sings of lost love

of lost hope

the tree of life that grows

the garden of the dark fruit

this wood; it is my paint brush that

caress’ my soul, that soothes my heart

and whittle’s away my time

this pencil, this withering branch that

I sharpen and point toward the East

point toward the past and point toward

the gates of history

it is my mast that floats erect

on the swells of the ocean

traveling toward the shore

lightened with buoyancy

lightened with poetry

this pencil is my savior, it is

singing my tales, singing my songs,

singing the voices of hope.

© [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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