Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- Worshipping anger April 15, 2019

Your pain bursts out the barrel of a gun

punches holes through community

explodes small town security.

Neutrality’s a liar.

And in world news:

Notre-Dame Cathedral is on fire.



My own photo, detail around the main entrance of Notre-Dame. Paris, 2011.


My own photo. Notre-Dame tower details. Paris. 2010


A poem should stand on its own merits, but I feel like a bit of clarification this time.  There was a shooting in my small, Canadian town yesterday.  Two people were shot in their church; one died. Our community has been reeling from this shock, and now another tragedy.  The loss of life. The loss of a building.  Can you compare the two?


Confessions July 7, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:05 pm
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I am at a poetry retreat, and I have just realized I haven’t posted any new poetry in ages!  Here is one that was prompted by discussion around the table last night.


Men are afraid that women will laugh at them.

Women are afraid that men will kill them

~ Margaret Atwood



she is laughing

at his wizened, flapping sword

Ever appreciative

it is not slashing, slicing, dividing

head from heart.


Impalement is not a virtue in itself

ecstacy can take or leave it.


She desires his desire,

not his possession.


poem-moment May 31, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:30 am
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One moment,

red filled,

changes everything.




(Reading S. E. Hinton’s Outsiders with my class today, and ch. 4 definitely has a red-filled moment that changes everything…).


poem- murder May 6, 2015

Filed under: poem,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:57 pm
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It’s awkward

all this repeated death.

Everyone has the solution

to remove the trouble maker

Everyone has a special skill

that will do the necessary damage.

How would you…?

Count down.

3, 2. 1.

You could…

From every department

something new.

Murder is not hard to do

if it imaginary, and there’s

not practical follow-through.



I am presently writing a collection of short stories set in a high school.  The staff at my school keeps coming up with suggestions about the next murder.  It’s been quite entertaining!    I had no idea that apparently all teachers can come up with a scary death related to their subject area in under 3 seconds.  How about you?  My husband, (a Youth Probation Officer…) is appalled.  lol

UPDATE: This project became Murdering Mr. Edwards and was published by Coffin Hop Press April 2018



poem- canine scheming January 29, 2015

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:10 pm
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In the hallway

between kitchen and bedrooms

the chef knife catches the light.

Which poodle is plotting

nefarious exploits?

Should we be locking

bedroom doors at night?


Poem: you May 7, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:24 am
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You stand against the

wall, arms crossed, sardonic smile

immune to laughter.


You’ve seen darkness that

they can only imagine,

and you are hardened


from the admiration

of flirting gazes because

your heart is cold,


Frozen by bad maternity

and noncommittal



Their bad judgements burn

within your heart until

destroying misery


means destroying

everything you should love,

innocent or guilty,


and then it means

flash firing your future,

scarring your life upon ours,


like a victim of

Hiroshima’s bombs whose life

vanishes in an


instant, leaving only

a silhouette, burnt white

on blackened walls.



I’m still processing the recent murder/suicide of a former student.   The idea of an image being frozen in memory by tragedy called to mind the silhouettes created in Hiroshima when people’s shadoes were left, though their bodies were vaporized.  While at first glance a free verse, the poem has some form: each triplet stanza follows the haiku syllable count (17 syllables per stanza) to reiterate this idea.


Poem: You’re Dead (pt. 2) May 5, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:25 pm
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You’re dead.

My head

a   kharmic  muddle

I mull upon


your despair,

a pall

wrapped ’round


You’re dead.

(Still trying to wrap my head around the murder/suicide last week of a kid I knew and worried about).

One Closure on the Highway of Tears December 11, 2010

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:19 am
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The Yellowhead Highway that cuts through Prince George is known as The Highway of Tears. There is a long list of women who have disappeared along this highway. A police task force continues to investigate. One woman didn’t seem to fit the pattern of the others: Wendy Ratte.  Wendy didn’t go missing on the highway, but was last seen downtown. Wendy was a teacher and I knew her. She had been a substitute teacher in my class room not too long before she disappeared.

I’d had some concerns about the circumstances of her disappearance, because that subbing day, instead of the lesson I’d left for her, she’d brought in a script and did a play reading with my senior drama class. The play was Extremities.  It is a very violent and graphic play about rape and justice.  The kids were very upset about the language and theme. I remember wondering what was going on in her life that she thought it was appropriate that this explicit play of female revenge on a rapist be explored in a high school class room.

Well, now we have a little more inkling of her reality. Her husband has been charged with her murder. According to the news this morning, he has confessed and explained to the court that he dumped Wendy’s body in a swamp.

Perhaps the trauma of this news is deepened by the fact that in a painful coincidence I read Alice Sebold’s novel  The Lovely Bones this week.  It is narrated by a child who has been raped and whose body is never found.

The loss to the education community in Prince George and the loss to Wendy’s children seem particularly striking.  Wendy’s children need the closure of knowing where their mom is buried, so for their sake I’m thankful their father is owning up to his role in their mother’s death.  How painful to have been told for years that their mother abandoned them, when the real abandonment was their father’s. Now they have lost both parents.  What a tragedy.  Finding something normal in every day life is going to be a challenge.  Their whole world is upside down.

Rest in Peace, Wendy.   You’re still teaching.

(Note- edited December 2022 to change ‘daughter’ to ‘children’ in the last paragraph, with related pronoun adjustments. You may wish to note updates to the case in which the father has since recanted his testimony and claims not to have murdered Wendy, after all).


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