Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- guessing May 2, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:11 pm
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I guess

I should remember

the curve of your cheek

the reach of your arms

the pitch of your voice.

I remember

the imprint of your fingers

against my thigh, rising scarlet.

I remember

the strident screech

that foretold your speeches

about the unfairness of life.

I remember

the flash of your eyes

the thud of the door

being poor.

I guess

I remember




(FYI- written in persona)


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.


poem- dark wishes December 17, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:02 pm
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In darkness

her wishes are simple:

No steps in the hall

no hovering hand

no panting breath

no pain.

In darkness

she wishes in vain.


poem- silent November 13, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:42 pm
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You sit


staring  at your lap.

Your face

reflects sorrows

you will not describe.


is your

only safe



poem- small October 11, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:27 am
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You were so very small

pulling your limbs inside yourself

wearing a vacant scowl,

trying to turn yourself inside out

to avoid notice,

when we were all there

for you.

So much trauma to hide from.

so many layers of armour.

Will we ever see you drop the ballast

so you can fly?



Probably a few too many metaphors here, but the sentiments hold true.  May have to work on this one a bit more.


poem- hole August 15, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:21 pm
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Occupy one

Small space

Hide here

Stay safe.


poem- lessons October 25, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:21 am
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When my dad went to school

he knew the Brother would beat him.

The ruler would rap down across

his small knuckles

once for every spelling mistake.

He knew he’d always make a mistake.

He knew he’d be beaten.

It didn’t make him study,

it just made him drag his feet

on the way to school,

meant education was painful

meant inadequacy

and brutality

were part of every day.

It didn’t make him speed up

that he’d be whipped

for tardiness


During lessons,

he watched boys fly

across the room

propelled by the fury

of the Christian Brothers

who didn’t understand

much about children,



or the golden rule.

Dad kept his head down,

nursed sore

knuckles and learned

how not to treat children.



Happy Birthday to my dad, who celebrates his 99th birthday today!

One more year until the official greeting from the Queen!

PS. Dad attended parochial school in Montreal in the 1920s.


Trust time May 3, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:31 am
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It gets better.

Whatever pressure

is crushing you,

whatever frustrations

are tearing you apart,

will end.

Permanent solutions

to temporary problems

are a waste

of who you could be.

Don’t take drastic actions

when patience could prevail

and provide purpose

for the brilliant future

you deserve.

Whatever burdens you,

buries you,

bullies you,

will end.

Call for help

It’s here.

Hold hope in your hands.

Give your future a chance.

Trust time to release you

from pain,

not death.



In an exercise of hope, I wrote this in present tense, though it is a letter to a brilliant young man who once sat in my class room, and sadly did not trust time: so much potential, crushed by despair, frustration and anger.  I am mourning the loss of his shadowed light in our world.  It only needed time for it to shine brilliantly, but he did not wait to see.



courage in adversity November 14, 2012

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:54 pm
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One’s valour is in proportion to one’s fear.  The man who is always entirely unafraid can never be brave.  He has nothing to be brave about.  One can only show real courage if one is afraid.  The coward, therefore, being afraid of nearly everything, is alone capable of the highest courage . 

Barbara Leonie Picard One is One, p. 134

I know a man with several brothers and sisters.  He remembers being terrified as a child.  He was traumatized by spankings.  He remembers a lot of abuse. He is certain that he was the most beaten of all.  His siblings think he was just overly melodramatic, and that he got out of real spankings because of his hysteria.

It’s interesting, because even if it’s true that he wasn’t hit as frequently or as hard as the others were, what beatings he did receive traumatized him when the allegedly more severe spankings of his siblings didn’t bother them at all.

He was more courageous because he dealt with something that was more terrifying to him.


NaNoWriMo day 14: 1710 words  (Total for November: 23,291)


Love is… October 25, 2010

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:05 am
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In my capacity as a high school teacher, I often watch kids sorting out their first serious relationships.  Sometimes what I hear alarms me, so I will do a class discussion on love.  My main question is, “What does love LOOK like?” because girls will say, “but he LOVES me!” while they are listening to abusive language and experiencing controlling and abusive behavior.  It seems that they think the behaviors are acceptable if someone professes that he loves them.  My goal is to get them to embrace a new concept: love is shown by an action that is kind, gentle and supportive.  The words are meaningless without the appropriate actions.

Once a girl looked at me as if I had three heads while she announced, “Love isn’t an action, it’s a feeling!!!”  She would not, or could not, get her head around the idea that love reveals itself through behavior.   Saying you love someone isn’t an excuse for a jealous tantrum, controlling them, or beating them, either with words or fists.

Ali McGraw was just interviewed by Oprah and they discussed the infamous line from Love Story, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”  Ali says it makes no sense.  Of course not!  It never did!  Love means saying sorry and more, it means SHOWING you’re sorry, by eliminating that behavior from your life. 

I remember those adorable “Love is…” cartoons in the 70s.  Kim Casali debuted the strip when she was a newlywed.   One of the most famous ones was, “Love is… saying you’re sorry.”   The strip is still running, although both Kim and her love are written now by their son.   Check out today’s.

I’m thinking that in my life,

“Love is…working toward a common goal.”

“Love is…walking hand in hand.”

“Love is…doing the laundry.”

“Love is… going out in the dead of night to buy your love cough medicine.”

“Love is… sitting in a car for 9 hours just to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep driving home.” 


So what do YOU think  LOVE IS… ?


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