Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- cracks June 9, 2019

I’m slipping apart

Deep gut groaning,

inviserating split.

Your knife is sharp

and oh so subtle

No one sees the slicing

as pieces of me fall:

blood, tears and confusion.

Devotion’s greatest trick.

Betrayal by the longed for hope,

tenderly nurtured,

joyfully gathered to the heart.

Once before, protection pushed you out.

You said your sorries, cried for communication

and here we are again.

Cruelty masquerading as the heart I carried.

Pain pretending to be love.

No one else would be allowed in, after all this anguish.

Broken pieces of how I used to feel.

Wondering where the sweet creature disappeared to.

Mothers earn merit badges from the torture

of their children.


poem-crushing May 30, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:20 am
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Words you knew not to say

you said.

Though you prefaced with

‘you’re not going to like this,’

you said them anyway.

You knew those words had venom,

that would poison her heart,

you said them.

And you watch the poison take her

ooze out through tears of




You pretend your purpose was care,

but caring is never deliberately cruel,

caring steps gently amid sensitivity,

caring builds supports to encourage.

In your mouth you have an anti-venom,

but you are silent,

contentedly watching the destruction

of the crushed spirit turning black

from the poison of

your words.

Moving farther from your affection

every moment you wait.





poem-not me May 29, 2014

My last pay cheque came

with a 10% fine,

because I belong to a union,

and somewhere in the province

someone else striking.

Not me.

I’m at work today,

my strike day was yesterday,

but I am fined today anyway.

A government that has twice

been told by the courts that

its actions are illegal,

that it bargains in bad faith,

that it tries to provoke problems,

simply ignores the judiciary’s order that it owes teachers

ten million dollars it took from them illegally.

Nope.  This government

continues to bully its educated citizens,

labelling scape goats and whiners.

Setting its propaganda machine in motion.

Sure that no one will believe what it is really doing.

Why is the public not up in arms?

Why are they not concerned

to see a government stripping rights

from its citizens?

Perhaps people are distrustful

of the well-educated,

so it’s easy to manipulate them?

Truth: 10% is off my pay cheque,

because someone else is demanding the justice today

that I marched for yesterday.

Sixty years ago,

our boys were fighting against

injustices like this.

They are likely turning in their graves

at the new chancellor

of British Columbia

and the apathetic


who avert their eyes,

pretending not to see,

and mutter, “At least she’s not after me.”


poem- truth about pink shirts March 6, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:57 am
Tags: , , , , ,

On anti-bullying day

five students are in the office

for having a fist fight

in their pink shirts.




I have a love/hate relationship with Anti-bullying Day.  First, because anything that’s ‘anti-‘ or ‘not’ the brain skips the adverb, and latches onto the verb- so they’ll see ‘bullying day’ as revealed in this poem.  I’d much rather the day promoted positive action than decrying negative action.  Say what you want to see.  Put those words out there: Be kind day!  Smile at a new kid day!  Bite your tongue before you speak day! etc.

Further to this, you might enjoy last year’s Pink shirt poem, which features Shane Koyzcan’s infamous “To This Day” poem/ youtube video


bullies in every day life… March 2, 2013

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:17 pm
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In the wake of pink shirt day, I have been noticing every day behaviours that people seem to find perfectly all right, without giving any thought to the ramifications of their actions.

They’ll wear their ‘Stand up to bullying’ pink shirts on the day, and then they’ll go home and send a “People of Walmart” slide show to three hundred of their closest friends on Facebook.

Or they’ll cheer for humiliating treatment of prisoners by an Arizona  warden and share that post around the internet.

Someone told me the other day that fat brides don’t deserve nice weddings.  Excuse me?

These people  don’t seem to see their own hypocrisy.

How about promoting good nutrition in our schools with healthy free school lunches and home ec programs?   How about social justice rather than incarceration?

How about helping people instead of mocking them?  How about respecting people instead of insulting them?  Who made you better than the everyone else?

Keep your pink shirt on.  We’ve got a long way to go.


pink shirts February 27, 2013

This is Pink Shirt Day, and it’s a day to talk openly about bullying.  In schools all over Canada, teachers and students put on pink shirts and take a stand against bullying.

It’s a day to confront victimization, and a day to talk about personal ethics amid hypocrisy.

When I ask a class full of teens whether they’ve ever been bullied, every hand goes up.  Every kid knows what it feels like to be looked down on, pushed around, and belittled.

Then I ask them, how many of them have ever bullied someone else, and the hands rise again.  Not usually all the hands this time, but awfully close.  95 per cent, say.  Let’s be honest, who hasn’t snapped at his sibling, made a rude remark about the kid who wasn’t cool, just so you’d feel a little better about your own status?

“Look! I belong because you don’t.”

So wearing a pink shirt is fine, and I’ll be wearing mine.  But I’ll be asking the hard questions.  Not just “Did you feel bad when you were bullied?” but “Why did you do it to someone else?”  “Why do you gain your personal power on the back of someone’s self-esteem? ”

Kids don’t get shaken down for lunch money any more.  I’ve never seen a kid shoved into a locker who didn’t request his friends help him get in.

Kids learn to bully.

We have role models after all, of what civilized behavior looks like.  We watch our political leaders shout obnoxious comments back and forth in the House of Commons and in our provincial Legislatures.

We watch talk show hosts encourage guests to jump on one another, as we gleefully anticipate the moment when all hell breaks loose.

We scream obscenities at rival sports teams.

We insult other cultures and religions.  Red, brown, black, yellow, white.  Everybody seems to have a colour that isn’t quite right.

We send soldiers to settle issues by fighting.

Why wouldn’t kids bully each other, when that’s what they see modeled every day?

So wear your pink shirt, but don’t think it’s going to stop anything, until the leaders quit using violence, obscenity and insult to get their way.

Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

Take a stand and celebrate your unique place in the world.

Demand the respect you deserve.

Be proud you’re you.



Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, stand up proudly.

Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

Take a stand and celebrate your unique place in the world.

Demand the respect you deserve.

Be proud you’re you.

Like Balpreet Kaur of Ohio State University, whose intelligent and courteous response to cyber-bullies taught them something valuable.  When Kaur was mocked for her facial hair, which she isn’t allowed to cut because she is a devout Sikh, she took the time to explain her faith, and in so doing, made the bullies aware of their small-mindedness. 

Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

Take a stand and celebrate your unique place in the world.

Demand the respect you deserve.

Be proud you’re you.


standing up to bullies February 28, 2012

All around my school are posters advertising February 29th as the day students are to wear Pink Shirts as a way to take a stand against bullying.

We teach our kids that they need to stand up for themselves and for their friends when they are under attack.  We teach our kids that it is wrong to try to force ideas and opinions without reasoned discourse.  We teach our kids to show respect to those who are different from themselves, whether they agree with them or not.  We teach our kids how to negotiate a fair solution when they have a disagreement with their peers.

In light of this week’s anti-bullying message, watching the BC Provinicial government’s bullying tactics toward teachers is rather ironic.  This week they are trying to force teachers to accept an imposed contract, refusing to either negotiate or to have neutral mediator negotiate on their behalf.

It’s a  lesson in irony.

Teachers believe in equity.  We stand up to bullies.  We have to, in order to be role models for our students.  When we stand with our friends against bullying behavior, bullies back down.  Right?

My pink shirt this Wednesday, February 29th is going to have several layers of meaning, as I do what I can to stand up for those who are bullying me and my colleagues.


Cinderella power April 25, 2011

In 2009 an Oprah Show audience member stood up after the taping and related the story of being  bullied because he was undeniably gay, even as a little boy. The kids called him sissy. He said, “Here’s how gay I was,  I carried a pink Cinderella lunch box in grade four!” Listen to his story to get the details of how that lunch box delivered his emancipation from bullying.  Click the link to Oprah’s site:

As I watched, it occured to me that he had amazing parents. How many fathers would tolerate having their little boys go to school carting pink Cinderella lunch boxes? I think it is quite wonderful how they allowed him to have the lunch box he wanted. They had to know that he was going to get teased for having it, but they allowed him to have it.

There’s an example of positive parenting- letting your kid be who he is, and letting him make his own decisions!

Okay, dad’s comment that he should fight his battle was rather harsh (see the video) but obviously it worked to give Tommy some self-respect.  There is some poetic justice in that pink lunchbox being the weapon of  choice.

Consider the symbolism of Cinderella. She is transformed from her dreary life to the magical world she longs for. So it was for Tommy. Cinderella helped him transform his world.

Talk about a Cinderella story!


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