Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-fakery December 19, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:31 pm
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We’ve decorated the artificial tree

The fire crackles on the TV

Holiday cards show everyone happy

People gather smiling gleefully

to celebrate festivities

and it all feels like fakery.


If this is meant to be

a season all about peace,

then let me sit here quietly

alone but for fictional company

the only sound, fire crackling,

and I will celebrate contentedly,

avoiding family and all their expectation of responsibility.



I am an extrovert and I generally love being out with people, but when I’m under a lot of stress, all I want to do is sit in heated comfort by myself, and spend time in the company of book friends.  All the obligatory holiday hoopla just makes me grumpy and anti-social, particularly with my dad passing away this summer and my mother suffering a serious stroke a couple of weeks ago.  



25 Responses to “poem-fakery”

  1. ghostmmnc Says:

    So sorry to hear about your dad and mom. Sometimes it is just too much to make merry, and some quiet time is needed. Wishing you Peace }I{

  2. Shawn, this is a profoundly beautiful reflection on what is false in our culture and how best to respond. The Swedes have a tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve, taking them to bed and spending the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate.. Perhaps your family could adopt this?

    • Ha. Generally I read from the first day of the holiday to the end. My current Facebook post was the realization that I was 12 books away from doubling my goal to read 70 books this year. Then I downloaded some books to my ereader and discovered 2 books I’d read, but hadn’t logged into Goodreads yet. I’m 10 books away from 140 in 2015, and well on my way to reaching the goal! I finished the audio All the Light I Cannot See yesterday and the paper of Tender Morsels the day before. For the holidays I’m going for fluff, with a series of connected books by Mary Balogh, an author I enjoy meeting up with at writers’ conferences. She’s delightful.

      (Normally I read 100 a year, but because of doing my Masters this year, I cut back the goal. But I broke my ankle and was off work for 3 months, so it ended up being a spectacular literary year, despite all the required journal article reading!) 😉

      • Good for you! I think it’s great to set reading goals. I was an English and theology major in college and read a great deal in seminary and my years as a pastor; Now, after reading mostly snippets here and there, I’ve set a modest goal of 26 books for 2016 I hope to reach and maybe even exceed.

      • Do you belong to Great way to track your books. I tried to keep track of them in a journal, but always misplaced it. Goodreads also monitors your stars and offers suggestions based on what you like, which is a nice feature.

      • I just updated my Goodreads page and added a list called To-Read in 2016. My goal is to rank each book I read and put up a short review. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. Jim Stewart Says:

    Time alone is sometimes like warm mac and cheese. Comfort food.

  4. Mark Says:

    Take care of yourself Shawn, there is no wrong in that. Merry Christmas!

  5. Sorry about your Dad’s passing and your mom’s stroke. Holidays can be extremely stressful. I am so ready for them to be over. I feel your pain

  6. I can totally relate to this mood. Sometimes, one just has to hide away and sort through one’s life, taking refuge in warmth and a few good books. There is a season for hibernating and a season for celebrating. There is also no rulebook for mourning. Sending you thoughts of solace and strength.

  7. howardat58 Says:

    Verse 2 is delightful !

  8. Val Boyko Says:

    I hear you … My husband started radiation and chemo last week. The surprise party for my 60th birthday on Monday has been postponed. My twin brother is depressed and lives in Scotland with my family. It doesn’t feel like Christmas… So I rented Love Actually, put up an artificial tree, sent out cards … And the spirit of Christmas is nudging in.
    Everything passes … and especially when we let go of our resistance.
    Join me in a hug! xoxo

  9. So sorry about your Dad and your Mom. Quiet time to recharge is essential for us all, to some extent, but so much more so when you have a lot of internal ‘stuff’ to deal with. The mania that can surround Christmas is definitely too much, sometimes! I hope your Christmas is just how you need it to be. 🙂

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