Shawn L. Bird

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

poem-#IReadCanadaDay February 19, 2020

I have been reading through your story

in short bits.  Your words hurt

my heart. It is so much work for some

people to survive from day to day. They

don’t deserve their painful realities, and my

opportunities are so apparent,

under my reading lamp.



#firstnationsauthors #indigenousauthor






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poem- Culloden Moor April 16, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:17 pm
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I didn’t see your ghosts

feel your spirits in the air

I didn’t understand what

drove folks to leave there;

On Culloden Moor the Scots

were slaughtered and died

Then drove from their lands

in Canada they arrived.

Their hardy characters

explored from sea to sea,

naming off the rivers,

(and my university).

The brutal battle that was fought

upon this day

led to our confederation

and the TransCanada




Most of what I know about the Battle of Culloden I learned from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  However, it’s very cool that my husband’s ancestor Dr. John Rattray was Bonnie Prince Charlie’s personal physician in Edinburgh, and was saved from the noose afterwards only by the timely interference of his golf buddy and judge Duncan Forbes.  (John Rattray was Captain of St Andrews and one of the signatories of the official rules of golf in 1744.  Cronyism in golf plainly goes back to the beginning of the sport).


poem-tortoise March 13, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:30 pm
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In dreams

I have been gifted with a tortoise.

A slow moving friend who will live long.

When I wake, I google

whether tortoises can lived in a backyard

through Canadian winter.

before I realize it was only

a dream.


poem- My Refugees November 17, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:32 am
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They escaped from beneath the thumb of a Ugandan despot

Fleeing between gazes of men armed with machine guns

And appeared in my back alley. Brown skinned.  Muslim.

My friend. My first love.

His soundtrack music now echoes from our TV screens.


They escaped from Soviet Russia during the brief window when

Jews were allowed to leave

And appeared in the junior high gym on the first day of school.

My best friend. Now in Geneva,

with the Humanitarian Commission for Refugees.


They escaped from Eritrea as it tore itself from Ethiopia

Newly weds running by night, sleeping through days

And appeared at my husband’s office,  to defend children

Our good friends, first social work

Then labour mediator,  helping opposites agree.


They’re escaping from Syria and the religious extreme,

Risking their lives for a chance of happiness and security.

Among the crowds, will we find

New friends making new lives

In our neighbourhood, where there’s safety?



I was pondering last night, that some of the most significant people in my life came to Canada as refugees. How different my life would have been had they remained in their home countries!  While I would wish them never having to live the fear of their respective escapes, how blessed am I than Canada welcomed them, and how blessed is the country because of their labours here!  They have each contributed greatly to society.

My mom’s first friend in her new community as a newly wed was a refugee from Germany who owned the apartment they rented as well as a business and other apartment buildings.  I’ve taught students who were refugees from the civil war when Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia dissolved.  Our country was not weakened by our welcome to these desperate people; it was strengthened.


commentary- On an educator Prime Minister #1 November 7, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:39 pm
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#JustinTrudeau #cdnpoli

During Canada’s recent election campaign, the Conservatives denigrated Liberal leader Justin Trudeau because he had a degree in literature and was a drama teacher.  (He also taught French and Math).  They thought that made him incapable of running a country.  I have taught Drama and French.  I have a degree in literature.  I smiled, because I truly believe that if you can manage a high school drama class, you can manage a country.  If you were a good teacher, you’ll be able to manage that country with consideration, respect, and intelligence.  As I see them, I will point out how PM Trudeau’s teaching experience is making him a good leader.  These posts will be in addition to my daily poetry, so you won’t miss out.

Reason #1 why it’s great to have an Educator PM:

On the first day of session, Trudeau went to welcome all the MPs to Parliament Hill.  He told reporters this would set the right tone, that regardless of party affiliation, that each MP is in this together, working for Canadians.

This is precisely the policy of teachers, who on the first day of school (and days subsequent, of course) stand at the doors of their classrooms to welcome students, judge their frame of mind, and set the tone of cooperation and connection within their class.


poem- unfinished Canadian joke June 5, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:23 am
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On the side of the highway:

a body of thick fur and flat leathery tail.

Why did the beaver cross the road?

I guess we’ll never know.



poem- real estate April 8, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,video — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:28 am
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The Canada Geese

have taken up penthouse accommodations

in the osprey platforms.

Two lady geese on two platforms

watch the cars pass on the highway

enjoying the view,

liking this nest.

They’re distant neighbours

proud to be moving on up.

I wonder how that will go

when the ospreys return?



(Ospreys are raptor type birds that like to live beside lakes and rivers where they are avid fishers, are partial to building their huge nests on the T-bars of power poles.  The hydro company and/or local naturalists, build platforms beside tempting poles to relocate them to safer premises.  The ospreys will return to these nesting sites year after year.  Apparently, the geese like them, as well!  This video is from the other side of the country, back in 2011)


Fare thee well, Raylene October 8, 2012

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:30 am
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Last week cancer claimed 52 year old Canadian singer Raylene Rankin, a member of  Cape Breton Nova Scotia’s Rankin Family.  Her stratospheric soprano voice empowered the harmonies of their Gaelic folk songs.  Here is the Rankin Family in 2010 at Toronto’s Massey Hall, performing one of her signature songs, “We Rise Again.”


Requiescat in pace Raylene Rankin 1960-2012

Keep those angels entertained, Raylene.


Canadian, eh! July 1, 2012

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:06 am
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In honour of Canada’s birthday, here is a video from Christina who lives in Alberta, about things from Canada.



Someday, I want to go to Ottawa to see the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.  Here’s a flash mob among the crowds waiting for events to get under way.  Note to self: it looks like you have to go early, especially in years when royalty is attending!



CANadian National CANthem June 30, 2012

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:37 pm
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Oh yeah.  Just about the coolest thing ever!

I am extraordinarily un-Canadian in that I don’t like beer of any sort, but this is creative genius!




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