Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- not a poet July 11, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:25 am
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I’m not a poet she said

I don’t get poetry.


everything she says is poetical

She views the world in deep metaphors.

She embodies poetry.

Giving something a name

gives it power, she said.

Am I a poet

because I accept the name?



(Write about that abalone, Tina!)


poem- what are you saying? February 8, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:11 pm
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The dress is tight

and youthful.

You beam, when people say

“You look great!”

But from a distance

they observe

the bulges from

the botched cosmetic surgery,

and the fake parts glued here and there.

They sigh how sad it is

that you feel you need to try so hard

to be a plastic doll

instead of you.

True beauty is not

about artificial expectations

it’s about being confident

as you are

and celebrating

that your uniqueness

is beautiful.


quote- identity October 30, 2013

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:24 am
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“You’ve always been what you are.  That’s not new.  What you’ll get used to is knowing it.”

(Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel p. 308)

In 2009, my novel Grace Awakening was finished, and I was staring stunned at the proof book, dumbstruck that I had actually done it.  I had written 150,000 words over six months, and created a world that other people were reading and liking.  I reflected this amazement to a friend who’d been reading my work since I was a kid, and he wrote, “You’re a writer.  You’ve always been a writer.”

I stared at those words on the screen for the longest time, trying to absorb them:

I am a writer.

Not a wanna-be writer.  Not a hopeful writer.  Not a someday writer.  I am a writer, and I have *always* been a writer.

It probably took me 3 years to fully accept that identity.  To embrace who I am.  When my friends started introducing me, not as a teacher, but as a “Shawn, the published author,” it was very profound.  It still gives me goosebumps

Then I started paying attention to the comments on my blog posts, and realised that I am also a poet.

I am a poet.

I was a little quicker to accept that idea, since it is so closely related to being a writer.  I have this image of poets as slightly crazy people, who live in weird houses, dress in crazy outfits, and have a lot of cats.  Well, two out of four is enough to face the truth.

I have embraced my creative self, and it is getting weirder and weirder.  The other day I seriously considered buying a wooden caravan style RV (I’ll try to take a photo of this beauty).  My husband would freak out at the very idea.  There probably isn’t enough room for my shoes, but I looked at that caravan, and was ready to hit the road. To become the wandering Bohemian I’ve beaten down my whole life.

Who I am is not new.  My friend was right, I’ve always been a writer.  I’ve been chattering away telling stories since I could talk.  I shared stories I wrote in grade 3 show and tell.  I won my first poetry prize in grade 4.   I’ve always been who I am.

Now that I’m not just accepting it, but I’m embracing it, I feel alive.  I feel like I am fulfilling my destiny.  I feel RIGHT in my world, because I am able to be who I am supposed to be.  I write.  I can not do things because I need to write.  People come to my blog, and tell me how my words make them feel, or think, or…  My words are who I am.

Who are you?


ocean angels June 17, 2013

You are a poem

that only angels know.

You move with the ocean’s pulse

waves kissing the shore

twice a day,

touching sky,

swelling with promise.

You are a poem

only the angels know,

but I am listening

for your words

on the wind,

reaching to catch

the rhythm,

in the rolling tide,

stretching to hear

the angels whisper.

You are a poem

I long to know.


Poem for T A May 9, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:32 am
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Who you are

is who you are

and you are perfect

as you are.


The reality of

who you are

is your reality,

and you are perfect

as you are.


The complications of

who you are

are a reality.


You are


that’s perfect, too.


When you embrace

all you are,

each complicated

component of your reality,

others will embrace it, too,

because you are perfectly


and complicated

is really cool.


Who you are

is who you are

and you are perfect

as you are.


becoming what I mean February 25, 2013

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:16 pm
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“I will not become what I mean to you.”

-Barbara Kruger

I read this quote in the book Blueprints for Better Girls (which was painful to read and not about bettering anyone).  The quote is interesting.  I suspect that one could ruminate for a long time on all the permutations it triggers.  I think it will mean something new to you almost every time you consider it.

Kruger is an artist who creates these slogans as a kind of anti-establishment declaration, meant to challenge the viewer.  You can read more about her in this article from Mother Jones magazine.

My first connection to this quote was to recall a youthful romance.  It could have been spoken by the young man.  In reality, he did not become what he meant to me.  And yet he did, because I fashioned him in the image I desired, and so he remained in memory, inviolate.

My children could say this to me.  I could say it to them.

In some ways, it’s a fatalistic thought.  We are bound to disappoint.  In other ways, it’s a liberating thought.  We are imperfect, and accepting that, we are free to be whoever we grow to be.

What does it mean to you?


A rose by any other name… January 5, 2013

Filed under: Commentary,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:56 pm
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I’m still thinking about names…

When I was in Junior high I was known as Shawna, because one teacher in elementary couldn’t get it that my name was SHAWN and that ended up on my records.  By the end of high school, I had finally gotten Shawna off all my records.

At our high school reunion this summer, a class mate said, “Your name tag says ‘Shawn.'”

“Yes.”  I agreed.

“This yearbook says Shawn,” he said glancing back to the copy Ralph had brought along.

“Yes.”  I was on the yearbook committee.  I made sure my name was spelled correctly.  I also did the calligraphy on our diplomas, so it’s correct there, as well.

“But we always called you Shawna,” he said, looking down on me with confusion.


“Did we have it WRONG all those years?”  His eyes were wrinkled in dismay.

I laughed and said, “Yes.”

He gave me the most sincere look of mortification and said, “I’m so sorry!”

I laughed and told him it was quite all right.  The kids I hung around with all knew my name.  I wasn’t to concerned about the rest of them, to be honest.

Then I went to Finland, and there they call me either “Soon” (rhymes with ‘phone’) or gave me the Finnish name “Sanna.”  When I introduce myself in Finnish, that’s who I am.  In French I’m “Jeanne.”  In Italian I’m “Gianna.”  My doctor calls me “Shawnee.”   I am all those people, and all those identities.  Each one is essentially the same, but a little bit different.  A different language for communication, a slightly different attitude.

So far, I don’t use a pseudonym with my writing, though I imagine eventually I will.

What is your experience?  Have you been known by different names?  Are you exactly the same, depending upon your name?


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