Shawn L. Bird

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

poem-you did it May 15, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:22 pm
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for Tai

.

You’ve always been a mountain climber.

Sometimes climbing means tumbling to the valleys.

Sometimes it means diving into sparkling mountain lakes

and becoming entangled with weeds

that pull you down.

Who knew you could drown while climbing?

You’ve always been a mountain climber.

Sometimes every part of you aches for a break,

longs for the plateau.

Rest.

But you keep climbing,

because sometimes, when you stand on the summit,

see the world laid out before you

a carpet of overcoming,

you see all the opportunity;

you see you can fly.

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poem- small talk May 13, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:40 pm
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Sunny cashier:

“Did you have a good Mother’s Day yesterday?”

Contemplation.

Truth.

“No.”

Pause.

Longer pause.

Sunny voice: “I left the kids with the husband and

spent a lovely time on the lake. It was just what I needed!”

“Ah. Nice.

For some of us, it’s a time of grief.”

(Honesty is the best policy).

Still cheery: “Oh. Yes!”

Oh, dear.

Some of us, once safely through a horrid day,

are tripped by reminders of our private grief

in chirpy questions at a till.

When you tear open wounds,

what did you mother teach you to do?

 

 

 

writing-talent v tenacity February 16, 2019

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:50 pm
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When I’m speaking to new writers, whether they be young or old, I spend time discussing the difference between talent and tenacity.

When you start, you may be discouraged because you see others with greater talent than you, but if you have tenacity, your dedication will develop talent, your resilience will keep you practising, your perseverence at pushing on doors will get you opportunities.  The most talented person who just holes up in a burrow will stagnate if they don’t work with what they’ve got.  So if you WANT it, you need to be tenacious, and eventually, your tenacity will develop your talent, and you will achieve your goals.

So much success in life relies on simply not giving up.

Caitriona Balfe, the actor who plays Claire Randall in Outlander, said some similar regarding making it as an actor, in a recent interview for The Irish Times,

a lot of it is just having the f***ing balls and grit to stick around and be persistent in the face of a lot of rejection. But I think that also comes from having a belief that if [there is] something you love to do so much, something that feels that it comes naturally, that in some way it has to be what you’re meant to do.

That’s it.  As Dory puts it, “Just keep swimming.”

 

poem-choose honey, hon March 9, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:23 pm
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You think

if you swell your chest

and shout with a voice that covers others’

if you argue

every word from the teacher’s mouth

that somehow you can win.

Oh, but hon,

who really has the power?

Consequences grow with your defiance

and you’re the one who loses.

The class laughs,

but it’s at you, not with you.

Biliousness and lies do not lead to success.

Trust me,

honey catches the flies

of achievement and respect.

 

 

poem-dark April 27, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:40 pm
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I’m weary of tunnels.

Closing in around me,

narrowing the future

to a  pinpoint of possibility

ahead of the foreboding train.

 

poem-new day again November 20, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:19 pm
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Every day you approach the computer

“What are we doing again?”  I show you where to see the assignment.  I review the expectations, the objectives, the criteria.

“Oh!  Okay!  I get it!” you say, and set to work.

The next day, we do it again.

Today you stare at me with blank, hollow eyes.

“I don’t get it,” you say.

Everyone else is busily working.  You’ve been absent.  When you come, you have to study for a test in another subject.  Or see the counselor.  Or help your friend.  In fourteen hours of research time, you’ve been here for eight.  Do you have anything to show for the time?  Others have the list of the websites they consulted, pages of notes, excitement over how they’ll turn research into a presentation next week.

You have confusion.

The same confusion from the first day. Repeated again.  Some days we can help you.  Some days you are confident and productive.

But nothing stays in your memory more than an hour.

Other days you are sullen and oppositional, because you’re sure  you’ve never seen this before, and you’re angry about it.

“This is stupid.”

What more can I do? I ask.  They tell me your parents refuse to have you tested.  They don’t want you to have a label, so we don’t know if this is a cognitive impairment, learning disability, or the results of drug use or a sports injury.  A label comes with funding to give you the additional support you plainly need.  Keep repeating expectations.  Keep explaining the criteria.  I agree.  This is stupid.

The course is almost over and you return each day to week one,  living a personal Groundhog Day loop,

and no one knows how to pull you out.

 

poem- new to you December 31, 2014

Whatever is tied up in this gift

unwrap it joyfully.

Pull out difficulty, challenge, and struggle;

laugh at the lessons you’re learning.

Celebrate what has been and what will be

Celebrate what is now and what will be

Celebrate you.

Celebrate me.

Celebrate

what

will

be.

Each day is a gift

New for you to

Celebrate.

 

 
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