Shawn L. Bird

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

“In the forest, upon the oak, I was spinning the thread for a shirt.” May 19, 2022

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:57 pm

Beautiful and poignant words from poet and author Theresa Kishkan

...Theresa Kishkan

in the honeysuckle

In Ukraine, in 2019, I bought two vyshyvanky, the embroidered shirts that encode so much of traditional life and culture. The one on the right uses rhombus forms that I believe symbolize the unity of male and female principles, sown fields, prosperity.

geometric

The other vyshyvanka has poppies embroidered on the yoke and sleeves. The poppy is a protection against the evil eye.

on my sleeve

I remember the difficulty in choosing a vyshyvanka among the thousands available in the Kosiv market, each one more beautiful than the last. Some were so heavy with embroidery that I couldn’t imagine actually wearing them — and I wanted to wear mine. I still think of the one that got away, not in Kosiv but in Lviv, at the end of my trip, when my suitcase was full and I thought I’d spent enough money. That one? It was black, with appliqued yoke and sleeves in deep…

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On banned books April 28, 2022

Recently, a list of books apparently newly banned in Florida is making the rounds. On the list is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Asked to respond, Diana offered some eloquent words that summarized with, “Evil has a tendency to backfire, which is a fortunate thing for civilization, I think.”

I have read many books on the list. I have taught many of the books on the list to teens. Book banning is just a way to control ideas, and I feel it’s a bit like Princess Leia’s statement, “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” Doesn’t banning books make them much more interesting?

What’s your favourite book that’s been banned? Why do you like it?

 

Another YAY! April 17, 2022

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:30 pm
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Patience is a virtue is proven in this one!
After a couple years of yearning whenever a new copy of a favourite literature magazine arrived, thinking “I wish I could be published in this,” I finally told myself that to make it happen, I would actually have to submit something. I had a story that I thought would be a good fit, and sent it off March 2021. At that time, their site said they respond within 3 months.

At 6 months when I hadn’t heard, I thought it was probably a good sign, that it might have been put into a ‘maybe’ file. At 9 months, I sent a note and asked about the piece.

In January 2022 I got a decline on the story. I was sad, because I still thought it was a really good fit for them, but that’s just the way things work. I pondered sending it elsewhere, or releasing it as one of my Minute Reads. But I didn’t get around to it.

Last week I got an email asking if the story was still available. 13 months after submitting.

So yay! Sometimes things work out unexpectedly. You never know who at a publication will say, “But what about that story, wouldn’t it work here?”

Submit pieces you know would be good fits, and the editors may (eventually) agree with you! 🙂

After the contracts are signed, I will let you know where to get your copy!

 

YAY! April 6, 2022

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:00 pm

I just discovered that my submission to the 2022 Okanagan Short Story contest was short listed! The contest is sponsored by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at University of British Columbia (Okanagan).

I have been short listed in this contest several times: 2022, 2020, 2015 (and perhaps another year, but I can’t find note of it, lol).

I won’t name the story, since it will be submitted for some other contests.

 

poem- room February 17, 2022

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:19 pm
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there is space here

enough for me

enough for you

if you’re kind, thoughtful

and respectful; we have room.

you don’t have to be beautiful

or conform to notions of who you should be

so long as others’ genuine needs

are okay with you,

too.

 

poem-Why aren’t you playing? February 10, 2022

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:43 pm
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Ramona spent the weekend racing around

The agility arena with her latest training partner,

Sewing personalized dog coats for friends,

Feeding a platoon of poodles

And a concert of birds,

Laughing,

Doing,

Playing.

Ramona didn’t dwell on the degeneration

That made most days painful;

She didn’t focus on the losses,

The quotidian agonies of aging.

When I posted a plaintive photo of my dog captioned,

“Play with me, Mom?”

Ramona asked, “So why aren’t you playing?”

Mere hours later, Ramona left the earth.

Her last words to me ring a challenge

Amid these pain-filled days.  We have just one life to embrace

What brings us joy.  Despite all the grief,

The sun still rises; there are things to do.  Today, find time

to play.

.

.

.

Rest in Peace, Ramona Stirling

 

poem- O My Cron January 5, 2022

Filed under: poem,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:54 pm
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“We don’t know
what we’re doing next,”
they said.

“Just expect
that you’ll catch the virus,
so leave instructions at your desk.

“There may be no one
to cover your job;
sorry about that.

“Don’t let uncertainty (or fear of death)
dull your passion
for the work.

“We so appreciate
everything
you do.

“Don’t worry, just relax;
what doesn’t kill you
makes you stronger.”



.

(This is a triversen poem. Each stanza is three lines that make a complete sentence)

 

poem- Daddy’s sweater December 17, 2021

Filed under: poem,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:29 pm
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I am zipped up in Daddy’s green sweater.
Mom knitted, purled, cabled together
some semblance of love.
He wore it with joy almost every day,
telling all admirers how it was made with love.
It’s wrapped around me,
but it’s not his firm arms,
not his smell (which wasn’t peppermint
or aftershave, but just him),
not his whisper in my ears,
Love you so much.
How can another year have past
without him? How can a sweater
be both so full
and so bereft of him?

 

Crushed December 15, 2021

Filed under: poem,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:55 pm
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Beneath the rock slide
I lie gasping.
So many stones squashing
the life out of me,
Covid, isolation, tension,
anxiety in others,
illness, recent deaths,
responsibility, each a
pebble piled
until breathing seems
an impossibility.
Where is the safety crew
to clear the debris
so we can be well,
be free of despair,
be who we used
to be.

 

Karmic dino court November 19, 2021

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:31 pm
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In an alternate Earth
injustices do not exist.
The universe feeds liars
to tyrannosauri rex,
which devour slowly
or quickly as befits.

 

 
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