Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- going to bat May 17, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:50 pm
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When things seem impossible

it is a wondrous thing to have someone

willing to bat for you.

Stand up and be responsible

for giving you opportunity for a home run

get you what’s your due.


poem- resourceful October 6, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:25 am
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I tied the sheets around the bedpost,

dropped out the window out of sight,

followed you down to the River Styx

with the water dark as night.

I leapt.  You bet.

I swam against the current

bumped against all those lost souls

but I was going to find you, and I did.

I tossed a coin to the boatman as he poled  along his way, I crawled into the boat

and I did say,

I told you

and I told you

and I told you.

I don’t care how black your night is

I don’t care how deep the pit

I will follow you and pull you back for air.

I will follow through the darkness

I will swim the River Styx

I will do it because that’s what marriage is.

It’s sticking when your hearts in little bits.

Kharon shrugs his shoulders, pulls us up to the next dock

He doesn’t care if we should choose to walk.

I wrap my arms around you and I drag you to the light,

because you’re too precious not to fight with all my might.

If I must be the strength then so be it,

let’s do what we can to make you fit,

I promised I’d be there for better or for worst

and Baby, I’m not driving with that hearse!

In sickness and in health, In poverty and wealth

I told you

and I told you

and I told you.

I don’t care how black your night is

I don’t care how deep the pit

I will follow you and pull you back for air.

I will follow through the darkness

I will swim the River Styx

I will do it because that’s what marriage is.

It’s sticking when your heart’s in little bits.

And I’m sticking so let’s hear no more of this.

I’m strong this time, and you’ll be fine

We all suffer those hits.

I’m strong this time, and you’ll be fine

in time.

In time.

In time.

In time, Baby you’ll be fine.





I had no idea what that was when the first lines came, but apparently it’s the lyrics to a country song about dealing with a spouse with depression.  Who knew!  


poem-lost July 29, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:48 am
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Small voice calling;

creatures crawling.

Hopes are falling.

She’s left bawling,

Must stop lolling

and start hauling.


poem- he said she said April 14, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:55 pm
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That scarf was a ridiculous purchase, he said.  I don’t work for you to buy gauzy strips of gratuitous fabric.

I don’t know why, she sighed, you insist upon these games

Because, said he, games are fun.  His lips quirked up on one side. His eyes were dark

Not always, she said.  Take chess, for example.

Racing is fun. Speeding around the track, outmanoeuvring competitors.  I never liked chess.  All that cornering the king.  It’s unbecoming.

Oh I know, said she.  She touched the damned scarf to a lit a taper and tossed it out the window as it flared.  Oops. How clumsy of me.

His eyes grew wide and he rushed to the window to see flames rapidly licking the dashboard of his Aston Martin convertible.

You always forget that the real power on the chess board is the queen’s, she said, as he raced shouting from the room.  Check, mate.



Today’s prompt is to write a dialogue poem.


poem-flames February 7, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:52 pm
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She’s caught between the flames

of inferno and ice

Accusations of blame,

of who’s not playing nice.

She’s caught between the fury

of defeat and aggression,

For neither is sorry

and all leads to depression.

She’s caught between love

crushed between hate

a magician’s dove

that is stuffed then must wait.

She’s caught between threads

stuffed up their sleeves

’til she’s dangling her head

beneath the nearest trees.



commentary- Dear Parents of BC September 18, 2014

Filed under: Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:40 am
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The following is my own opinion.  After discussions with many friends and colleagues, I feel secure in using a collective ‘we’ rather than the singular ‘I’.  We’re voting to ratify a negotiated contract, and the vote is in no way guaranteed.  However it goes, here’s what many of us are feeling.


Dear Parents of BC:

Every year at the end of the school year, teachers with continuing contracts wave off the students, worn out from a long year and a longer month (June is always that way), bid farewell to the growing ranks of our colleagues on temporary contracts, and lock up our class rooms.

We leave the building pondering the challenges of the year.  We analyze our successes and failures.  Which lessons or units worked well?  Which students had unimagined gains?  Which strategies will we try again?  How will we modify them?  Perhaps we record our thoughts.  Perhaps we let it go.  We breathe.

We walk through our front doors, and introduce ourselves to our spouses and children.  For about three weeks we focus on them.  We relax.  We recharge.

Somewhere around BC Day, we start thinking about the next year.  We consider units.  We research.  We file ideas.   By the middle of the month we may be back in our rooms, hanging borders, photo copying, making posters, preparing for a new year.  We are enthused by our plans, by the potential of the year to come.  We are invigorated and enthused to face the kids, the challenges, the meetings, the classes that get switched up at the last moment.

By Labour Day, we’re ready.    We are energized and ready for the year.

Not this year.

This year we face our class rooms with a weariness that weighs down our bones.  We have been vilified, lied to, and lied about by our employer, the Provincial Government.  We, who have sacrificed our time to other people’s kids, who have shored up years of under-funding with our own money purchasing supplies for our class rooms, have been fined 10% of our wages because we were no longer volunteering our time, and called greedy, to boot.  We have stood up for our rights, and faced jeers.  We have explained about our Charter Rights and Supreme Court decisions.  We have argued with strangers, friends, and loved ones about different definitions of ‘benefits.’  We have discussed massages and propaganda.  We have educated with a passion and effort that rivals our most challenging classes.  We have learned that ignorance is a special need, requiring a skilled approach.  We have given up thousands of dollars of salary to stand up for public education in BC.

We have been embattled.

We have been besieged.

We have been drained.

We have sacrificed our emotional, mental, financial, and physical health in this fight.

We don’t have anything more to give.

We need you.

We need you to continue to fight for public education.

We need you to keep pressure on this government.

We may have a contract, but it is not the contract that will provide the best services for your kids.  It may be the best we could have gotten from this government, but it is not good enough for BC’s kids.

So we are passing the baton.

We will teach.  We will give our very best.  But this year, our best is not going to be our all.  We don’t have anything left in us.

When your child is not going to receive the testing he should have, we’ll tell you.  You can phone our MLA, Mr. Fassbender, and Ms. Clark and demand to know why your child isn’t getting the support she needs.  When we don’t have tissue paper during flu season, or enough textbooks, or are using the same textbook you wrote your name in twenty years ago, please write the Ministry of Education and demand that they fund schools properly.

When no one is available to coach the basketball team, please step up.  When a dance needs supervision, please volunteer.  You’ll see why we love doing these things.  You’ll understand why after a work day, they are an exhausting add on!

The government can dismiss teachers as greedy whiners, but it can’t dismiss an army of enraged, engaged parents.

Your kids deserve better than what they’ve been getting for the last twelve years.

We can’t fight alone any longer.

We’re weary.

We need you.


(c) Shawn L. Bird.


(Feel free to reprint and redistribute this as you like, but please respect my copyright, and leave my name and the link on it).

Proper citation: Bird, Shawn L.  “Commentary-Dear Parents of BC” collected (insert date).



Sept 19/2014

NB-  This is my blog.  

I am a teacher.  I am declaring how I feel after a bitter fight against an unreasonable government with its own agenda.  This is MY reality, and the reality of 40,000 of my colleagues.  We’re entitled to our feelings. 

If you think that  I don’t work hard enough, I don’t care enough about my job, or I am whining, feel free to leave your opinions inside your own head.  I will not reprint them.  We’ve been fighting against such ignorance all summer. I have no patience with it now.

The Supreme Court said twice that this government bargained in bad faith, and they used all the same tactics this time.  If they had been willing to negotiate last June, this would have been settled last June.  They have lied to you, and  they’re laughing at how easily you are manipulated.  

I am thankful for the parents (and perhaps the Chinese ambassador) who put pressure on this government to finally come to the table.  I don’t think the government anticipated your fury being turned on them; their expensive spin doctors are likely losing their jobs.

Be thankful for those who are willing to stand up for public education.  If you’re a parent, please keep up the fight, because this government is not done yet.  We’ll be beside you once we’ve recovered.




poem-torn September 17, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:43 am
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The fabric

of my complacency

is torn.


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.


fight November 9, 2011

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:11 am
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I come to bed nursing hurt,

determined to keep to my side.

My crushed heart needs

the solace of loneliness, as I obsess

on the sense of abandonment.

Wishing, “Don’t go.”

I go myself.

A journey of anguish

centered in my soul.

I’ll rest perched on the west side

looking through salt water.

You sleep on the east,

spine set up against the mountains.

Between will be a desert that I will




I crawl between the sheets

and my feet haven’t left the floor

before I am entwined within your arms.

Pulled unceremoniously across the divide

wrapped tight in determined embrace.


There will be no fight on this landscape.


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