Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- tonight April 24, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:25 am
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walking to the mailbox

I am stalked by mist

The lights blink through

the neighbours trees:

stars above,

down town below.

It’s so black between the lamps,

I expect deep quiet,

beneath the rustle of new leaves,

but the highway hums in the distance.

Trucks travel with an insistent drone

that climbs the hill to my house,

and silence suffers

in the hustle of their incessant transitions.




poem- Remembrance Day November 11, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:11 pm
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“Every one is going, Mom!”

“You have to do your duty, Son.”

“We desperately need the money, Hon.”

“It’ll all be jolly good fun,

and over scarce moments once it’s begun!”


Voices echo, arms wave farewell,

as adventurous lads descend into hell.

They see what boys should never see

March in when the sensible would turn and flee

They rise each day at reveille

to create a future for you and me

Built on their fear, their pride, their aim

To fight whether they be slain.


When men return, once battles end

They toast their comrades and their friends

Through years of anguish in the night

When dreams return them to the fight

Today we salute them, the wounded boys

the men of valour, whose youth was deployed

into a horror of noise and mud

baptizing them with gore and blood

So we can stand before the cenotaph

To honour their sacrifice on our behalf.

We do not glorify their war

but we know what they were fighting for.


To the boys who left home, to the men who returned whole or broken, in thanks.


Here’s a link to the song “Soldier Boy” by The Pids.  I went to high school with Stu Aspinall, who will donate a portion of all iTunes sales of this song to PTSD services for returned combatants.



Remembrance Day song- Green Fields of France November 10, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,video — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:12 pm
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Eric Bogle wrote my two favourite Remembrance Day songs.  I always weep while I play or sing sing them.  Beautiful and poignant pieces that explore huge themes.  While we acknowledge the sacrifices of those who went away to war, we must also recognize the need to better ways to deal with conflict.  When dealing with bullies, it’d be nice if discussion would bring about resolution, but so often, they only understand a  big stick.  It is the worst thing about humanity.  The fact that people are willing to deal with those bullies, for whatever motivation, is still sadly necessary.  So, here is Eric Bogle’s “Green Fields of France.”



Dam fine day May 8, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:49 am
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Today I watched beavers

busily engaged in beaver chores:

swimming the branches to the lodge

packing mud in the dam

waddling from one pond to another.

A rodent family at work,

improving their neighbourhood

thinning the trees that keep out the sun

and improving water habitat.

It was worth

the blisters and the swollen feet

now soaking in Epsom salts.



News article about this beaver family:

A youtube video about habitat restoration by beavers:


Spring invocation March 5, 2013

Filed under: Rotary,Rotary invocations — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:53 am
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Snows are melting; spring is come

This Rotary year is almost done.

As we reflect on projects from the year

upon our activities both far and near,

We’re thankful for successes enjoyed

We’re thankful for resources employed

in the service of others, in service of peace,

for in serving others our joys increase.

Let’s be thankful at this meeting for food and friends,

for hearts to serve and helpful hands.


(c) Shawn Bird.
  For free use within Rotary, but please leave a comment saying when and where you use this invocation, and credit Shawn as the author.

snow on the blog December 3, 2012

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:41 pm
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I confess, one of my simple joys is that come December, it snows on my blog.   I love how the little white dots drift through the post, in serene ambivalence of the topic or tone of the blog entry itself.

I love that it happens every year without me doing anything. I put it in my settings back years ago, and now, like winter,  it comes whether I am ready or not.

This year, December first arrived as a welcome relief to the furious writing frenzy of November’s NaNoWriMo.  It was a delight to look onto the blog, and see the peaceful ‘flakes’ drifting across my posts.  Tranquility amid technology.

Simple pleasures are the best ones, I think.


empty March 21, 2012

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:34 am
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What laughter echoes

through empty hallways

mocking joy

mocking always.

What song echoes

through empty places

mocking love

mocking faces.

What words echo

through empty pages

mocking peace

mocking rages.


day of peace September 21, 2011

Filed under: Pondering,Rotary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:47 am
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Today is International Day of Peace. Some people think that peace has to exist within the context of its contrast to war. Real peace goes beyond that. Nearly four hundred years ago the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza observed,

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.

I like this concept.  We work for peace in our world, by being peaceful with our family and our neighbours.  We have to live peace in our daily relationships.

When challenged by those who are not inclined to peaceful existence, or whose boastful, aggressive ways deliberately obliterate peace wherever they are, we demonstrate either our mastery over this concept, or our struggles.

Peace is an attitude.  Maintaining it can be a daily personal battle.


Be the peace September 11, 2011

Filed under: Commentary,Rotary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:26 am
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Every few months I get an invitation to send a piece to Postmedia news for These are the folks who own the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Victoria Times Colonist, etc.   In the past, I’ve sent pieces for the federal election and Canada Day. Recently I was asked to contribute something reflecting on 9-11.  It showed up at on Sept 8, and it was re-printed by the Vancouver Sun on Sept 10 (along with the other papers in the syndicate mentioned above).  I have waited for the official anniversary today, so they scooped my own piece!  Here it is.


Sept. 11, 2001. I was dropping my daughter off to start another day in Grade 9. As she left the vehicle, I turned on the radio and heard commentators frantically discussing a building with a tilting radio tower and an airplane. I thought a plane had struck a radio antenna. Then I heard the shock and horror as a second plane flew into the second World Trade Center tower on the day burned into everyone’s consciousness.

Far away from New York, on the shore of beautiful Shuswap Lake, nestled in B.C.’s green hills, we were grieving for office workers, emergency personnel, and the enormity of war coming to the shores of North America. We were full of questions. What would it mean? Who had done this? As we nestled in to nurse our shock, the world went suddenly quiet.

We watched in pride and awe as Gander opened its doors and welcomed the world with Atlantic hospitality, as plane after plane touched down, expulsed their occupants and waited.

For the first time in my life, for three days I could look into a clear blue sky, with no jet exhaust streaked across it.

The world seemed eerily quiet, poised for something to happen. We were watching for invasion forces to come over the hills. We were watching for sleeper cells to wake up and destroy towns. We held our breath, waiting. In high school, my socials teacher had warned us that someday, the huge disparity between our world and the world of the more-populated East was going to bring war to our doorsteps. Was this the moment? We held our breath and waited.

But nothing happened.

Security was tightened at the airports, sure. We sent servicemen and women to the Middle East, and too many of them died there. But whatever we were expecting to happen here in North America, simply didn’t. Whether due to the diligence of U.S. Homeland Security and CSIS furtively working behind the scenes, or whether the terrorists just stopped trying, all has been quiet on the Western front.

A decade later, perhaps we can let out our breath.

A decade later, have we been changed by the destruction of the Twin Towers and the angry fanaticism that led to the attacks in New York, and upon the Pentagon? Have we learned something about the dangers of illiterate fanatics at home and abroad? Are we making a greater effort to ensure poverty and ignorance can’t be manipulated into terrorism and martyrdom? Are we working internationally to encourage peaceful conflict resolution?

When I listen to the individuals sponsored by local Rotary Clubs to study peace and conflict resolution at prestigious universities around the world, I have hope. But they are so few, and the ignorance is so great.

Might can not be right. Words must be mightier than swords. We need peace, before the world is in pieces.

How are you working to be the positive change that protects our future?


Peace Invocation 2 September 8, 2011

Filed under: Rotary invocations — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:06 pm
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Director Godfrey Reggio said, “I think it’s naive to pray for world peace if we’re not going to change the form in which we live.” 

In homes and our Rotary clubs we need to start where we live to make a difference in the world.  Our words and our attitudes are the building blocks of change.  As the song says, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

(c) Shawn Bird 2011  Free use within Rotary.  Please credit Shawn when you share this in your club. Please also leave a comment to document your club  and when you intend to use it, for your members’ information.  With thanks.


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