Shawn L. Bird

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

poem-here June 3, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:10 pm
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Here is the place,

soft amber light

warm hands

cool breeze.

Here is the circle,

feel the connection

crackling completeness

arms tight,

hearts warm.

Here is love,

wrapped around you,

holding you up,

sending you strength.

Here is peace.

Here is hope.

Here is now.



For Londa.


poem- acceptance May 30, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:37 pm
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there is no why

there simply is.

Your body

came into the world

like this.

The cancer in your family line.

The inclination to heart disease.

That birth defect.

Desperate fear

brings joy to snake oil salesmen

who’ll tell you whatever you need to hear.

Fake healers with degrees from schools of blarney.

Double blind research shows it’s no different that a placebo.

You don’t need an expensive sugar pill;

Just accept the hope

without the hype.

Believe you will get better,

and your body will believe you,

without sharing fake cures that might kill you,

without wasted dollars in fake cures flushed

away, and if your body doesn’t accept cure,

live today.


poem-lost gift July 25, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:50 pm
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Family and friends

gather for funeral to

tell stories:





I hope she knew

she touched this many.

that they’d have to

bring in extra chairs,

though she was a newcomer

to this community.

When cancer is found,

why not call everyone

to celebrate the life

while the body is there to hear?

Why not send her off for chemo

with these stories of love,

respect, and support?

Why wait to gather

when she’s not here

to receive the blessing?




Memorial today, packed house to celebrate Auntie Linda.  I just kept wishing she’d been here to know how many lives she’d touched.  

I was reminded of a send off my friend had for her husband when he was heading south for radiation, bone marrow transplant, etc.  Relatives came from afar, friends packed the building.  We sang, we told stories, we laughed, we sent him off with blessings for his young family, knowing in his heart how he’d inspired people.  When he passed away a few months later, we gathered  all again with sadder hearts, but that time together lifting him up has stayed with me as a very precious occasion to support a young family in a time of tragedy.





poem-dying June 27, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:53 am
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One tumour

one bed

two hands clasped

four walls

five chairs

eleven shallow breaths a minute

twenty-four  syringes of pain meds

counting down now

four days since you ate

five days since you spoke

how many hours

of life?




Good bye Auntie Linda

who passed away at 10 p.m. June 26, 2014

apparently moments before I wrote this poem.

I’d been with her at 9 p.m.




poem- half a year June 14, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:07 pm
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Six months ago

you were fighting to play pickle ball

laughing on the small court

stretching your racket to hit the ball

stumbling and crashing onto the court,

filling your head with

flashing white fireworks,

exploding star bursts.


you are fighting for two more weeks

laughing with guests in the small room,

stretching your life to see your children

stumbling and crashing against time

filling your belly with fluid,

flashing white pain

imploding your life




For Auntie Linda


poem- power hair October 13, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:05 pm
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She was  dazzling

in the cosmetic department

getting lessons in drawing eye brows.

Her silver hair was cut

power short.


It emphasized her features:

glorious twinkling eyes

perfect nose

determined mouth.

Who needs make up

to add to that beauty?

Her hair set her above,

showed her panache,

made me smile,

and look twice.

Then she thanked the clerk

for the lesson,

set on a chemo cap

and her vitality




Farewell Jack August 22, 2011

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:45 pm
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I was so sorry to hear today about the death of Jack Layton, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party.  Layton was a statesman whom people trusted and respected.  His personal integrity made him one of the most popular politicians in Canada, and when the NDP became the official opposition in the last election,  it was a first for the party, and it was mostly because people trusted Layton above the other options.

Layton’s battle with cancer was public.  At a recent press conference when he announced that he was stepping down to concentrate on treatment for new cancers, the nation was shocked to see how ill he looked.  Today our nation is flying flags at half-mast in his honour, and a movement is afoot to put a candle in your window at 9 pm to celebrate his life.

He left his wife Olivia with a letter to Canadians.  His parting words are

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

Jack Layton

Farewell, Jack.  We’re going to miss your integrity, values and abilities.  We’ll do our best to follow in your footsteps and change the world for the better.


love through it June 15, 2011

Filed under: Friendship — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:42 pm
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Cancer is everywhere these days, but since 1980 when Terry Fox set out on his Marathon of Hope, things have changed. In so many cases the treatments have helped many win the battle that would have been lost 30 years ago. Early detection, better treatment and improved follow up care have been the cure for many. Salmon Arm is a community with a big heart for cancer. Our Relay for Life consistently brings in more donations than the cities of Vernon (several times our size) and Kelowna (10 times our size). Sometimes the fight is general, but sometimes it has a precious focus.

At the moment, a member of Jamila Mai Bellydance is undergoing chemo for breast cancer. It is so great when a community gathers together to support one of its own in a time like this. Wrapped in pink ribbons, Jamila Mai celebrates Barb, the Chest Pop Queen.

Read about the event here.  As you admire the beautiful photos you will see the love shining through each person there.  Barb is very loving, and she is very loved.


Hey Death. October 24, 2010

Filed under: Friendship,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:14 am
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Excuse the informal attire.

I suppose you’re used to

people taking this all a lot more seriously.

We’ve spent so much time

together these last few months

as you hovered over the ward

that I feel like we are old…

well, not quite friends exactly,

but at least… familiars.

I’m not planning to spend much

time with you, either.

I’m just walking through the woods

on my way to glory.

So I’m going to forgo the suit,

if you don’t mind,

and I’ll rest in this box in my denim

until the day I raise on the wings

of dawn.



RIP Daniel Ross Brown

September 17, 1960 – October 24, 1998
I can’t believe it’s been this long.  We’ve missed you.
The inspiration for this poem came from one on Darlene’s site:
and particularly the discussion after it.  Death doesn’t deserve a suit…

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