Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- performance art July 22, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:24 pm
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I know,

that sometimes my performance faltered.

I reached down or up for notes that would not be seized.

I fumbled  at times with pitch, tune, entrances, but

every time

I believed.

I believed I was selling crumbs to birds

who were going to die horrible deaths

without them.

I believed that every person

within the sound of my voice should buy

just a small bag for the ‘ungry young ones.

My voice trembled with my belief, as I gazed out at the faces,

beseeching each and every one to part with a tuppence.


You believed.

Stranger, how you clung to my arm,

when me met on the sidewalk, months later,

eager to tell me how you’d heard my voice

in your head weeks afterwards.  How beautiful it was.

How it made you wept.

I, who knew every vocal fault,

struggled to believe

that my believing,

had been enough to reach past my inadequacy.

Thank you

for reminding me,

it’s the only thing that connects

in the end.



Image (c) Evan Buhler used with permission. “Feed the Birds”. Mary Poppins Shuswap Theatre 2016.

Me, being The Bird Woman November-December 2016.  

I met a fan of the show yesterday and struggled once again to come to terms with the fact that our art has its own life and power.  It can transcend us to speak poignant messages to receptive ears.


8 Responses to “poem- performance art”

  1. Love it! What artists of all kinds feel daily–the struggle between self-doubt and confidence. Like the line about starving birds! Nice!

  2. Over time, more than one voice teacher told me to stop thinking that some notes are high and others notes are low.
    “There are no notes wandering around above or below you, so it makes no sense to reach up or down vocally. You can’t sing that way. Remove your mind from the center of the musical line; it does not belong there. Singing can not be ‘self-centered.’ ”
    They were right. Every time I thought a high note was coming, I would raise my head a little to ‘reach’ it…and this slight movement upwards would begin to restrict the sound. And then, each time I thought a note was too low, I would bend my head down ever so slightly, which also restricted breath and airflow. I had to learn to believe that all notes travel along evenly on one steady line.
    After I had lung cancer surgery in 2015, I suddenly was faced with a new fear. Now when I breathe, I don’t feel like I am getting enough air. What if I can’t get to the end of notes without fading away?What if I can’t finish a song?
    In spite of the fear, 3 months after the surgery, I decided to accept the chance to sing “God Bless America.” I wanted to sing this particular song, because I believed in the power of the words. I figured I could take a breath after every 3rd word, because I was going to have a good chorus of voices singing right behind me, backing me up.
    Long story short–I was amazed to see that the message within the song was delivered to ‘receptive ears’ in spite of my inner doubts and fears.
    And so, I totally agree with you—ART does have its own life and power, and it is a great honor when human artists have the opportunity to be a conduit for it!

  3. The Bird Woman- yes, indeed, Shawn, you show how to face the inner fire of doubt and go forward with intensity.

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