Shawn L. Bird

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

poem-smoke September 1, 2014

You are smoke

You wind your lies

Through the crowds

Til they are choking and gasping

Then you fade away and

blame the sick

that they are ill.




Just in case you’re tired of my Teachers’ Strike posts, here’s one that, while I know is about the strike and the misrepresentations of government spin doctors, at least it seems as if it could be about a variety of situations. 🙂


poem- stand up June 19, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:27 pm
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“Why are teachers even bothering to picket,

when you aren’t getting strike pay any more?”

he asked.

I told him it was because teachers are moralists

who are defending democracy

and fair working & bargaining conditions

against a corrupt government:

A government that ignores the court rulings

spends billions of tax payers’ dollars appealing

judgments by the Supreme Court

and the United Nations saying they

are WRONG to steal from our kids.

It will pay billions for a stadium roof,

but will not pay for educating its children.

I told him that in such a war,

pay is a small thing.

We will fight, because if our government

succeeds in destroying OUR union

then every other working person in this province

is in peril.

If OUR contracts can be shredded with impunity,

so can YOURS!

We are fighting for YOUR rights

and for our students’ right to a properly funded education

against a government with an agenda

to destroy public education and the middle class.

We’re fighting for YOU! I told him.

“Oh,” he said.


poem- change December 7, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:32 pm
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(early October)

I can’t go to conference this year.

Ahhh! Please come!

I can’t think what I’d  pitch this year.

Stay with me!  

Oh. I have that old thing I could share.




Here, look at this piece.

I like it!  Send me more!

Here, look at this piece.

I like it!  Can I see more?


Yup.  I really like it.  Send it to her.

Here is the rest!


I like it!  Let’s work together!

Here’s a contract!


and so begins the next part of the journey

and thanks to Leena because I could have missed it all!


poem- happy news December 3, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:55 pm
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Clear out the inbox

An innocuous line

looks like the others

but wait! What’s that name?

The heart starts pounding

air around feels quite thin

A note from an agent

makes me stifle a grin

Is it good news or bad?

I click closing my eyes

Open one cautiously

and to my surprise

She writes that she loves it!

A contract’s attached

I shout to the rafters

New beginnings are hatched!


TRUE STORY!  Happened today! About an hour ago, in fact.  Now to read through the fine print of the attached literary contract.  Large prestigious  agency though, and an agent I was very impressed by when I watched her at a conference.

Wait. Time to celebrate with some new Fluevogs? 🙂  The fun and frolicsome  Kitschy kitschy Boom Boom Vivs might be appropriate for this kind of a celebration…


The readers’ bargain June 10, 2010

Filed under: Commentary,Literature,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:02 am
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Fine: if you’re still reading, then I’ll trust we have a bargain. You will not judge—and I will tell the truth. Or at least you will withhold your judgement as far as seems humanly possibly—which is seldom very far—and I will tell as much truth as can reasonably be expected from a man—which is seldom as much as one might hope—and between us we’ll do the best we can. (Ian Weir in Daniel O’Thunder p. 8.)

It is an interesting bargain that is struck between writer and reader. The reader agrees to suspend belief, so long as the writer crafts a believable world. The art is taking the reader on a journey of the imagination that stretches so tightly it almost snaps. When the leap is too great, the reader puts down the book in disgust and may not return to it.

Ian Weir’s Daniel O’Thunder is a lovely book. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking it is full of sweetness and light, because it is a dark book full of poverty, murder, shame and the blackness of evil, but it is beautifully crafted. There is poetry in every line. Weir took me on a journey and surprised me.   His narrator, who breaks the literary equivalent of the ‘4th wall’ to address us throughout the novel, is quite an enigma.  Unreliable narrators are so much more painfully realistic than reliable ones!

Weir’s narrator takes us on a journey, that amid the surprises (and a token ending in BC that seemed all about qualifying for grants or awards!) leads to contemplation of evil and spirituality.  He may break the contract (see what you think!) but he’s too interesting for you to be concerned.

What literary  journeys have you had to abandon? What writer broke the contract and made you so irritated that you couldn’t go on?


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