Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- microcosm November 11, 2020

Filed under: poem,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:56 pm
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The newscast announces an IED*

blew up another patrol.

Dread descends.

My heart pounds.

I strain to hear the names.

Let him be safe.

Let him be safe.

One hundred fifty-eight other names were called.

A thousand prayers unheard.

A thousand exploded hearts.

He carries them all in his duffel

when he returns.




IED= improvised explosive device.



A favourite student of mine fought in Afghanistan with the Canadian Armed Forces. As I listened at the radio during the time he was gone, I was conscious of what an entire generation of families must have felt as they listened to hear about all the boys and men of their communities fighting abroad. The magnification of the stress was easy to imagine. ‘My’ soldier returned safely to Canada and returned to the high school to speak in a Rembrance Day service a year or two later. I bawled my eyes out through the whole thing so thankful he was alive and whole. I’m thinking of him today, and all those families whose hearts were broken, not so long ago.






poem-glory November 11, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:11 am
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They listened to the call for glory and honour

marched away with smiles on their faces,

found horror in mud and blood

found sacrifice in trenches:

.    sacrificed youth

.    sacrificed lungs

.    sacrificed sleep

Returned without friends

who call through the years

echoing in the quavers of The Last Post

of glory wrapped in mud,

of honour paid in blood.


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- Eric Bogle’s And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda November 10, 2013

Filed under: video — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:58 pm
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Here is my other favourite Remembrance Day tune, also by Eric Bogle.  The marching in April that he refers to is for ANZAC Day which is the memorial day for Australian and New Zealand troops fighing in Gallipolli during WW1.

This video was put together by a Canadian teacher for a Remembrance Day assembly at her Middle School.  This song represents so much: Respect for those who fought.  Sadness at the loss of young lives.  Desire for peace to keep it from happening again.  Frustration that we still have war.

I remember in the 1970s when I’d go to the cenotaph with my dad, how sad it was that fewer and fewer people attended every year, but these days, it’s heart warming how large the crowds are.  So many families with small children attend, which they didn’t when I was a kid.  I was used to being the only young person there, aside from the cadets .

Enjoy this one.  It’s poignant, powerful, and beautiful.



Remembrance Day song- Green Fields of France

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.”



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