Shawn L. Bird

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

sharing July 24, 2017

Filed under: Commentary,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:08 pm
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Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence

I wonder how many women do not have these stories in their lives?  I suspect there are few if any.  We acknowledge these stories, but so rarely bother to stand up to them, because they are ubiquitous.  I am glad to see the light being shone on them and the label being attached.  Yes, these are assaults.  Yes, this is violence.  This is why some cultures are so protective of girls, but why, why, why can’t the blame be put entirely where it belongs- on the perpetrators of this violence?

Perhaps because that requires us to look at our own dark natures?

I was recently reading an article that talked about the passive label like “Violence against women” as if there is no agent acting.  Where does that violence come from?  Not the ether.  Let’s label the agents, not the objects of the action.

 

 

quote-Cornelia Funke on good books January 17, 2016

Filed under: Literature,Poetry,Quotations,Reading — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:20 pm

“Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said…”As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.”

Cornelia Funke in Inkspell

 

quote from Jenny Hubbard January 15, 2016

Filed under: Literature,Quotations — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:50 pm
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In the book, And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard, protagonist Emily is sorting out the world by writing poetry and reading Emily Dickinson.  The book is full of poetry and is written with a very poetic tone. Here is a particularly beautiful passage:

So sew. Either way you spell it, on its own, the word looks wrong.  Emily could write a poem about it, about how sew needs a subject, an object.  About how a girl needs a duty to lock her in place. So if she sits at a desk, scrawls words on paper, are the words as lonely as she, or do they sow seeds into a soul across time, across centuries?  Was Emily Dickinson ever able to thread the words together in such a way that she was beyond the need for stitches?

 

Obituary- Herbert Mosses Duguay July 25, 2015

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:40 pm
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Herb93bday (2)OBITUARY:

HERBERT MOSSES DUGUAY

October 25, 1914 – July 25, 2015

Herb Duguay passed away peacefully Saturday, July 25, 2015 in his 101st year. Herb was a devoted father and husband.  He was the son of Charlotte Coombes Mosses Duguay and David Owen Mosses, but raised as the son of Joseph Georges Duguay in Montreal.  He was married to Alison MacMillan Duguay Baker for over twenty years.  He was married to his beloved Lalita Ortlieb Fuson Duguay for fifty-three years.  He had one daughter by birth, Shawn (John) Bird, and three children by the heart, Wayne Fuson, Stewart (Gail) Fuson, and Naomi Verbonac.  He had 8 grandchildren: Veronica, Shane, Lalita, Jolene, Trista, Charlotte, Nicholas, and Kyle.  He had 9 great-grandchildren.

Herb’s first memory was seeing the World War 1 soldiers coming home in 1919.  Around this time he was run over by a brand new Model T Ford. We are thankful for their high wheel clearance.

He was an avid Boy Scout and saw Lord and Lady Baden-Powell when they came to Canada in the 1920s.

In the 1930’s Herb worked in quality control at Burroughs Wellcome Pharmaceuticals. As a result, he was a lifetime believer in the power of Polysporin.

He built bombers at Fairchild Aircraft in Montreal during World War 2 because the army didn’t want him.  They said he had a bad heart.  They were wrong.  Herb was all heart.

He moved to Vancouver in the 1950s to start up Maco Industries with Reg Baker.  For the next thirty years he travelled through Western Canada selling their products to building supply stores.  He was proud of his ethics and the good relations that garnered him respect and openings everywhere, because he only sold products he believed in.  He was still selling in the care home, pitching his daughter Shawn’s books to staff and residents at every opportunity.

He was a travelling salesman who never missed a school performance or event of significance.

Herb never walked past a child’s lemonade stand without buying a glass and chatting.

He always had a good dog to keep him company.

He was an avid tennis and table-tennis player throughout his life.  Though blinded by macular-degeneration, he still played into his 80s with unerring accuracy.  In the last few years, he was the goalie for the award winning Bastion Care Home floor hockey team.  Until two weeks ago, he walked up 2 flights of stairs each day.

He was proud of the letter from the Queen for his 100th birthday.  He was prouder of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.

Herb was friendly, funny, honest, kind-hearted, and loyal.  The world is a less gentle place without him in it.  He was truly a “man of worth.”

Thanks to the Bastion Care Home staff.  You were his favourites.

Herb Duguay (age 85) and Teddy

Herb Duguay (age 85) and Teddy

Herb Duguay (age 70) and Shawn

Herb Duguay (age 70) and Shawn

( ^ In that picture he always reminds me of Maurice Chevalier.  Dad loved to sing Chevalier’s Thank Heaven for Little Girls to me when I was little).

Herb (age 40ish) behind Maco with Kinky the dachshund

Herb (age 40ish) behind Maco with Kinky the dachshund

Herb Duguay tennis champion

Herb Duguay tennis champion

He told me he’d won a big tournament in Montreal once.  I just received this photo which I had never seen.  I wish I could ask Dad about it!  No idea of year- somewhere between 1945-55 I’m guessing.  Let me know if this trophy looks familiar!

From the cast photo of A Nautical Knot performed Nov 30, Dec 1-2, 1939 by St Andrews Operatic Society Montreal

From the cast photo of A Nautical Knot performed Nov 30, Dec 1-2, 1939 by St Andrews Operatic Society Montreal

A Nautical Knot was a comic operetta by William Rhys-Herbert.  Dad could not sing a note, but he was filler on stage.  He used to laugh about it.  I believe it was put on by the St Andrews United Church in Lachine, which held its last service Dec 18, 2011.

Vincent Martin, Herb Duguay, Kenneth Dow Boy Scouts Montreal 1930ish

Vincent Martin, Herb Duguay, Kenneth Dow Boy Scouts Montreal 1930ish

Vincent Martin joined the Merchant Marine and was killed Sept 1941, age 26.

 

quote- insults June 13, 2015

Just came across this in my audio book today:

“An insult is like a drink, it affects one only if accepted.”

Robert A. Heinlein in Glory Road

How true is this!

The difference between being ‘thin-skinned’ and ‘thick-skinned’ lies in if you ‘accept’ the insult or not.  If you do not, it rolls over you and you can remain jovial and calm.  If you accept an insult, it can be toxic, taking bitter root and poisoning both you and others around you as you spread the toxicity.

This brings to mind that some need more gentleness than others.

While insult may be completely unintended, those who presume a negative intent will let their ‘acceptance’ of the insult fester.  Their perception is their reality.

This is when one can either wait for the one presuming insult where none was intended or implied to either wake up or move on, or one can say “I’m sorry you felt that way, it was not the intent.”

I am prone to the former, with a shrug of shoulders.  For those of us who ignore even intentional insults (some of us have taught junior high and therefore have a lot of practice) it can be hard to feel sorry for those who are so fragile or victimized that they see insult wherever they turn.  They’re emotionally exhausting to be around.

I don’t drink either literally or figuratively.  It seems like a sound way of avoiding trouble.

 

poem-with alacrity May 30, 2015

(for DG)  🙂

In whatever capacity

you deal with animousity,

develop a good strategy

to sort out dreaded calumny,

then avoid falling into laxity

and resolve it with alacrity!

.

.

Another poem dedicated (with tongue in cheek) to Outlander author, Diana Gabaldon.  The phrase ‘with alacrity’ appears frequently in Outlander, and whenever it does I shout enthusiastically “WITH ALACRITY!” and chuckle.  (Alacrity means haste, FYI).  It’s silly, but it is not much different than throwing boxes of KD at a Barenaked Ladies concert or toast during Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Neither of which I’ve done, unfortunately, so I have to settle with shouting to a book.  Kind of sad, really.)  😉

 

question- what is molestation? May 21, 2015

I just heard about celebrity big brother from 19 Kids and Counting Josh Duggar’s confession that when he was a young teen, he behaved inappropriately with younger females, that he underwent counselling, and while he’s sorry about it, he’s received his forgiveness and moved on.

The internet seems full of those who label him a molester and think he should have been sent to jail.  I am somewhat confused by this response, because to my mind, a young teen, awash in hormones he doesn’t know how to deal with, is a boy in need of good counsel, frank conversation, and restorative justice, not a boy who needs to be tossed into jail.

I don’t know the details of Josh’s case, but then neither do those commenting all over the internet, so let’s keep this theoretical:

Facts: Young teen brains are not developed, therefore, impulse control is undeveloped. Pubescent hormones impact judgment.

I have to say that I think this kind of scenario speaks more loudly for the needs of young people to have thorough sex education- including not just the biology of their changing bodies but frank discussion regarding sexual autonomy and gratification.  Those of us who remember the wildly fluctuating passions of our first crushes need to remember that this is all extremely complex and confusing for 13 and 14 year old kids.  Media is assaulting them with messages about what sexuality means, their families and faith communities may have contradictory views.  How much did you discuss this stuff with your parents?  How much do you discuss with your kids?  I think our kids from toddlerhood need to know what is okay touching.  They need to know that they have autonomy over their bodies and that they should keep their hands off other people’s bodies.  But if they don’t, what should happen?

So here’s my question, with respect to pubescent youth– What is assault?  What is abuse?  What is mutual curiosity? What is counselor worthy and what is criminal?   Are there age lines?  Intent lines?  Subjugation lines?  What do you think is appropriate?  How would you want your son dealt with if he confessed to touching younger girls?

What is criminal responsibility for kids?

In the interest of disclosure, I am married to a youth probation officer who deals with this every day.  There definitely can be psychopathic rapists at 14, but they are a rare commodity.  Let’s concentrate on average kids.