Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- Minus 26 degrees January 13, 2020

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:18 am
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The moon lingers in blue sky,

listening to Styrofoam™ squeaking boots

on crispy, cold snow.

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Poem- Buried January 10, 2020

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:22 pm
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You are small

boisterous

black

bouncing

excitement,

eager for the ball,

but

the snow is deep

and when you chase

you

disappear

into a crystalline abyss.

Such gleeful eyes

burst from the bank

and shake off

that which buried you.

 

poem- fog December 11, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:09 am
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The fog is thick today

both hovering over the lake

and in my head,

rendering me slow-witted,

dull,

fatigued.

Does the lake feel the same?

 

poem-slice December 4, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:55 am
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What invisible edge

slit skin on finger tip,

inserted pain into this day?

Blood dripped.

Every typed word

reminds me

danger lurks everywhere.

I face the consequences

alone.

 

 

poem- solo December 3, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:02 am
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One

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tiny

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perfect

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snowflake

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falls

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through

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empty

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sky.

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Intrepid?

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or harbinger?

 

 

poem-fluff November 16, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:07 pm
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Tight black ball

warm, curled against my hip

tail twitching in dreams.

Serious affection or just fluff?

It’s all the same to me.

 

Essay- When is a Basket Not a Basket? November 13, 2019

WHEN IS A BASKET NOT A BASKET?

© Shawn Bird November 13, 2019

Often, when we work side by side with someone, our learning comes not from the task occupying our hands, but with the stories that come along side.

On Indigenous Learning Professional Development Day, the creation of a lovely small pine needle basket was the least of what I took away.

The elder teaching our class told of gathering the pine needles.  How she wept to discover a clear cut where her favourite trees had been.  She told of saying a prayer during the gathering in respect to earth, and how when we were finished with our baskets, the needles left behind should not go to the garbage, as that impacts our own healing, but that they should be given back to earth, with thanks.

Quietly, at our table, she told our group that what one saw as a mistake, was not.  The elder who’d taught her when she was seventeen had explained they were  meant to be there.  I found a connection in that statement, “Oh!” I said, “Like I tell my English students: it’s about the process. There are going to be mistakes, and that’s good, because it’s part of the learning.”

Her eyes down on her basket flashed.  “English!” she exclaimed.  “I tried and I tried and I tried. But everything was always wrong, wrong, wrong.  Finally, I told them what they could do with their English!”

Then she glanced up, alarmed, concerned to have caused offense.  “Oh. But not like that!”

“I understand,” I said.  “Your stories are in your baskets. Not in English.”

She stitched her basket, silently.

And I saw.

I saw a school system that scarred her papers and her soul.  I saw a sense of never measuring up.  I saw frustration growing until giving up was the best decision to preserve self.

I saw how profound it was that she was in our building teaching us her talent and skill, sharing her art, her values, and her stories with us.

I saw that there are many others in my classroom who share her experience.

I am humbled and very grateful for her teaching.

A small pine needle basket on my shelf is full of new, poignant understandings.

 

Here is the Word Document version for easy printing.

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pineneedlebasket

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