Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- in the dung heap May 8, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:45 am
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Your displeasure wafts off you like

the shimmering waves of a manure pile in July.

You reject optimism and trust.

You will let no sunshine disturb your dung beetles.


poem-wishes September 11, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:01 am
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In the middle of everything

wishes whispering,

It is war.


is relative.

Whispering wishes,

Everything in the middle.




overflowing June 8, 2013

You look at my

half-empty glass

shake your head,

insert a straw,

blow in laughter and love,

and make my happiness

bubble up until it



Pessimism in action January 31, 2011

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:48 am
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Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. – Helen Keller.

Noticed this quote on a board at Curves the other day. It made me consider different angles to that, and I came up with a quote of my own:

Pessimism is the despair that leads to failure. – Shawn Bird

If you have a negative outlook, if you don’t believe that there is something good coming in your future, nothing good happens for you. You become mired in your own misery and hopelessness. If you can find hope, and believe that even if things are bad now, that there will be a brighter day coming, then you have the vision to get through the hardship.

What happens when your brain chemistry isn’t letting you get there? If you can’t find the joy and hope, you may need a little help. Your brain is probably not producing enough ‘happiness hormones’ for you to have a positive outlook. Bring on the anti-depressants!You can change that and open up a world of possibility. See your doctor. There is no need to be miserable!  Some people think anti-depressants are for the weak, but depression is all about chemistry, it’s not about will or strength of character.   You wouldn’t think you were weak if you needed nitroglycerin for your heart or anti-rejection drugs for your transplant, so why on earth should you feel bad if you need drugs to adjust your neurochemistry? 

Work with your doctor.  Take the drugs.  Don’t wallow in despair and misery.  Find the optimism that will give you the faith and hope in a positive future that will allow you to achieve all you can achieve in life.


Optimism August 25, 2010

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:09 am
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“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
~Helen Keller

This was on the white board at Curves today.  It made me think of all the people I know with clinical depression, and how they so rarely achieve the things that the rest of us think they are capable of.  Depression steals optimism.  Pessimism does not breed greatness. 

If you have hope, then the pages you write, or the course you take, or the person you call up fit into a possible future that you are willing to trust will be a good one.  A depressed person thinks, “Why write it down?  It won’t be any good.  No one will ever want to read it.  No one would buy it.”  Words of genius are lost to the world.  A depressed person thinks, “I’ll probably fail the course.  The prof won’t like me.  It’ll probably be boring.”  They miss the inspiration and enlightenment of education.  A depressed person thinks, “Why call?  She’s probably not home.  She wouldn’t want to go out with me.  I would probably embarrass her.”  An opportunity for a new friend or a great romance is lost.

Optimism is just a glimmer of faith that not only will something be fine, but that it might be better than it is.  Optimists fuel creativity, exploration, adventure, and thought. 

I am optimistic by nature.  When I envision a poem, a painting, a needlework, a knitting project, a sewing project, a story or a lesson, I am not expecting failure.  This is not to say failure doesn’t happen.  I have a lot of unfinished knitting projects around, in particular.  However, that fact just makes it more exciting when one finally does get finished! 

If I wasn’t optimistic, I couldn’t do the job I do, particularly in the environment I’m in.  I have been teaching 18 years.  When I started, I never imagined that I would have spent 18 years without belonging to one school, without knowing that the school district valued my labour and creativity enough to attach me to a single school where I could blossom forth brilliance that would make my class one parents encouraged their own kids to take, as the generations wrapped around.  One that inspired kids to become teachers or writers.  Instead, even after all this time, I can’t even plan a semester in advance.  I can’t arrange a terrific field trip to Ashland Shakespeare Festival a year hence, because I don’t know where I’ll be in a year.  I can’t invest in products or literature for my classroom, because next semester I might not be in that school.  Keeping teachers ‘lean and hungry’ does not make for quality education.  I miss the teacher I could be with security.

Still, I’m blessed, because I always find some place that needs my service, and I know even if the students are in different schools around the district, and even if I’m only a semester in a school, that I am inspiring some of those I teach.  Just today I had an email from a former student wondering if she could switch into my English 12 class.  Ironic, since I don’t know what school I’ll be at this year, let alone what I’ll be teaching.  If I wasn’t optimistic I would have curled into a ball and given up a long time ago.

Optimism is the key to happiness and success. 

Anti-depressants don’t hurt.


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