Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- piece November 3, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:58 pm
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New journey.

First step.


poem-begin April 5, 2018

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:46 pm
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The NaPoWriMo prompt today asks us to consider a photograph through the perspective of a poem in another language.  The poem I am using is in Finnish: Alku, by Piia Pälä.

Seasons unfold



Truthful music, ancient turning.

Below petals open.

Three full moons glowing in spring sky,

Chasing the sun,

On hopeful wind.

Enter into light, solitary,


New week

Re-enter reality.

Photo: open door

Original poem:


Kaiken kantanut kausi kumartaa,
hiljaa kääntyvä aika katsoo myötä.

Taivaalla taittuvat tiehyet,
muinaisten tinojen toteutuneet taiat.
Uudemman ajan tiiviimmät terälehdet.

Kolmesta täysikuusta kasvaa kaivattu kevät,
auringon laiduntama rypsipelto ja
toiveikas titaanien tuuli.

Sinne mennäksesi kulje yksin valoa kohti.

Ollen ajan oma, ja silti.
Sinun todellinen hetkesi on tässä.

~Piia Pälä.


quote- beginning August 27, 2017

Filed under: Poetry,Quotations — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:15 pm
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“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
― Louis L’AmourLonely on the Mountain


#napowrimo- switch April 8, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:07 pm
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There is nothing more

he said.

This is the end.

While they watch the line

vanish into mist,

the curlicue twists

and something more





Today’s prompt is to write a palinode: a reversal of opinion, essentially.


poem- beginning April 12, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:39 pm
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When we’re beginning

we celebrate the possibility

embrace the new

dream of what’s ahead.

Now we’re beginning

new challenges enfold

new priorities take precedence

new adventures await.

We’re beginning a new journey

into the unknown

with new travelling companions

and a goal on the horizon.

We’re beginning

alone and together

good shoes for the soles,

ready for whatever comes,

one step at a time,



Invocation for the new year 2013 December 27, 2012

Filed under: Commentary,Rotary invocations — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:15 pm
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Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. ”

As we come together each week in 2013,

What makes a beginning is spinning us onward

We keep together progressing through weather

We work  without rest until success.

What keeps us together is unity, fun, and focus.  Let’s change the world this year.



(c) Shawn L. Bird.  Free use within Rotary, but please credit me, and record your use of the this invocation in the comment section below.

HELP! Which start is your favourite? October 7, 2012

I’m unhappy with the opening to Grace Awakening Myth.  I need something strong , intriguing and compelling.

I’m brainstorming, and would appreciate some feedback from you!  Here are six versions of the first 100 words or so.  Version one is the original.  Which do you think is the strongest option?  Can you identify why it appeals to you?  Would you mix components of a couple of the options?  Please leave your observations in the comment section below.   (Though I see many of you are using Facebook, and that’s all right as well).  Thanks for your help!


Version 6:

Aphrodite’s words exploded in my head like a missile shot from a catapult, leaving me dizzy and stunned.

I stared at her  as the words ricocheted through my head, smashing through my consciousness, crushing my hopes, and destroying my future.

Finally, I sputtered, “What did you say?”  It couldn’t be true.  She couldn’t have said what I heard.

Aphrodite stood, her back to the temple columns, watching me solemnly.  “Oh, Orpheus,” she sighed.  “I said, ‘This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.’”


Version 5:

Aphrodite’s words exploded in my head like the sound of crashing swords, leaving me dizzy and stunned.

Finally, I gasped, “What did you say?”

Aphrodite stood, her back to the templecolumns, watching me solemnly.  “Oh, Orpheus,” she sighed.  “I said, ‘This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.’”


Version 4:

Aphrodite was watching me with a solemnly pitying expression as I came over the hill.  She leaned languidly against a pillar, golden hair flowing around her in waves, waiting.

She made me nervous.  I bowed low.  “You wished to speak to me?”

She nodded, stepping forward and straightening into a formal posture. “I am to inform you, that this is the girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.”


Version 3.

Aphrodite leaned against the temple column and watched me warily.  “Did you hear what I said, Orpheus?”

I bowed respectfully, shaking my head.  I had heard, but I wished fervently that I hadn’t.

“I said, this is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.”


Version 2:

Aphrodite’s words sliced into me like a sword and I wheezed, feeling the blood rush from my face as the pain of them slashed through me.  “What did you say?”

Aphrodite stood, her back to the templecolumns, watching me solemnly.  “Oh, Orpheus,” she sighed.  “I said, ‘This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.’”


 Version 1:

“Orpheus!  Come here.  I need to talk to you.”  Aphrodite stood, her back to the templecolumns, watching me solemnly.

I didn’t like the expression on her face.  I bowed respectfully, “Yes?”

“This is that girl’s last life time in the Earthly Realm.  If you are to have her for eternity, she must choose you this time.”


(FYI- this is what follows the above…)

That girl.  She tossed the words like Grace was of no consequence.  The girl I had followed through time, the girl who made my life complete, and gave me music.  The girl who could save all that was good in the world.  The girl I was waiting for.  My heart started to pound.  “Where is she?”

She shook her head.  “I’m not allowed to say; you know that.”

“I was told Canada.  In Calgary.”

Her eyes widened and she tilted her head, but she made no comment.

The eyes were enough confirmation.  At least I didn’t have to scan the entire population of the planet.  I only needed to find Grace among the million or so residents of Calgary.  I’d come to the city a couple of years before on a tip, and had settled myself into high school there.  My informant had assured me that Grace would show up there eventually, but I had reached my final year in high school without any sign of her.  I’d begun to doubt, but Aphrodite’s alarmed surprise was enough evidence that I was in the right place.  I would try to be patient.


beginnings July 23, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:15 pm
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I met with my editor last weekend.  She was feeling a little grumpy.  There are so many new characters, both mythic and modern, in Grace Awakening Myth, she was trying to find something to grab at the beginning of the story to put them into context of Dreams, and she hadn’t.  She offered some suggestions.  Essentially, I needed to go back and start the book a little earlier than it does in the parallel story (Grace Awakening Dreams). I came home and wrote the prescribed scenes thinking ‘I need to more clearly establish the main conflict’ for the reader and ‘I need to grab the reader right away.’

I wrote a couple scenes and sent them off to her, wondering if I needed something with more action at the very start, and pondering how I was going to put it in there.  I hadn’t come to a decision yet.

What I call the “James Bond Method” of starting a work, is the leap into the action, immediately.  It’s common way to start action films or spy novels.  Sometimes this is an intense prologue of a scene that will be explained at the end of the book.  I had in mind that I had to somehow make that fit the beginning of Grace Awakening Myth, but I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make it work.

This morning I was reading through Tweets by agent Victoria Marini and she had posted a link to a blog by agent Kristin Nelson on this very issue.  Nelson argues that while the beginning has to grab the reader, it doesn’t have to be by ACTION, though the scene must still be ACTIVE.  Good stuff here, including clear examples.  The ‘active’ one seems definitely superior.    Check it out action vs active here.

Whew.  I’m on the right track, after all. 🙂


begin January 2, 2012

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:17 pm
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A new beginning begins

Another old ending ends

A circle encircles again

Time encloses and bends



Submitted for Gooseberry Garden.  If you’re visiting from Gooseberry, please include a link to your own contribution in the comments so we can return the visit! 🙂


Where did it all begin? August 10, 2011

I was asked this question yesterday, and I figured you might be interested in the answer.

Short answer: it began with a poem.

Long answer: it’s been a long journey, but it began with a boy, a poem, and some books.

When I was ten, I developed a crush of epic proportions. Since I was an avid reader, I was also a writer. I’d been making up stories and writing poetry since I was in grade three. The unexpected, overwhelming emotions involved in this crush, led to outpourings of poetry. The theme was common: where had this emotion come from? Surely something this intense couldn’t just have happened? Surely such emotion must have been in the universe forever?  The year I was twelve, I wrote this poem, which summarizes this sensation:

When I look at you
I see sunshine in darkness
Passion through naïveté

I think that we were lovers once
In another life
You and I belonged
And that is why we were drawn

That is why I love you so much
And why your name
Brings happiness through sorrow

A wisp of a smile
When day dies
I remember you and I smile

You are my day and my night
Your face is a memory
That time cannot erase,
And someday
In another life
We will be lovers
Once again

It’s the poem Grace’s hand writes in the library. She is shocked and dismayed by what it reveals to her.  I know it isn’t a great poem, and I would tighten it up if I was writing it now, but I wanted it to be here as an authentic voice, flaws and all.

That poem begged to be a novel. There was a need to explore that sense of infinity that comes with a profoundly intense relationship like a first love, and like a lasting love, as well.

I tried to write it a few times over the years, but it didn’t go anywhere. I could get a narrative, but there was no hook to hang the story on. It was boring. If it was boring for me, it’d be boring for readers. Still, that love story wanted out, and it waited.

Then one day, I was reading some questionaires I”d given my students. In answer to the question, “What is the best book you’ve ever read?” About a quarter of my class had answered, “Twilight.” I’d never heard of it. I mentioned this to one of my older students and she told me she had all three of the books that were out, and that I needed to read them. The next day I had Twilight. A few hours later I was dying for the next books. They were delivered, and I read between work, dance classes and way too many Rotary meetings. I adored the story and I adored the characters. I was making connections like crazy- the key to one’s enjoyment of a book- and I had an epiphany.

Myth could be the hook. I started writing the week after Thanksgiving 2008. The characters started introducing themselves. I tried to move them in one direction, they chose to go another. The book was done the week before April. And it was good.

It wasn’t perfect, of course. The first readers picked out weak scenes, slow spots, confusing things, etc, but they loved it. They wanted more.

And that’s where it all began…


If you’re visiting from Poetry Potluck 48, please include the link to your poem in any comment you leave!  Thanks and thanks for coming by!


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