Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- prep July 14, 2018

Beneath a cloudless blue sky

I feel the storm coming,

black clouds gathering.

Could they reflect black shirts?

I ponder,

seriously,

if I should be building false walls

to hide those who will be escaping tyranny.

I wonder,

if I am far enough from a border to avoid

occupation.

A century ago,

they didn’t understand the signs,

but now we do.

Those who read are the first removed

when the evil rises.

Do all those kids who demanded,

“Why do we have to learn this?”

remember that their teachers said,

“So you’ll see the signs.”

“So it will never happen again.”

“Remember, they elected Hitler;

“they heiled and fell for his lies,

“because they wanted to believe their superiority,

“wanted a scapegoat for their troubles.”

There can be no excuses.

Shall I buy bricks or drywall?

Where will I construct false bottoms?

Where will we hide in the resulting rubble,

when the jack boots stomp through?

Another cristelnacht, this time in New York?

The hammock swings its consolation:

It can’t happen here.

It won’t happen here.

How many said those words a century

ago?

How many grew to knowing the meaning

of fear?

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poem-naked July 28, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:33 am
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The line of naked men was long, snaking along a corridor

in the recruitment centre, with whispered jokes and camaraderie,

then the naked line was shorter,

then just one naked man standing awkwardly alone,

in the line of now clothed young men.

He fought flaming cheeks as they studied him punctiliously.

“No, you won’t do,” the army medical team announced.  “Heart murmur.”

Shame.

A great escape, that.  The boys who went to war never quite came home.

But that heart murmured along for another three quarters of a century,

serving his country by staying alive..

.

.

.

My dad had a lot of stories.  

Apparently I’ll be working through my grief setting them down as poems.

 

poem-sacrifice October 24, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:24 am
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An Argyll and Sutherland Highlander’s

simple service:

honour guard,

in respectful silence, stand proud

beneath a towering arch,

the bronze visages of

the nation’s memorial to those

fallen in foreign wars,

Keeping faith at the tomb

of the unknown soldier,

Clad in kilt  and jacket,

green as the fields of France,

red and white stockings over

shining white spats,

bronze warriors towering above

wept

as one of Princess Louise’s Highlanders

fell.

.

.

.

This poem references the powerful political cartoon by Bruce MacKinnon drawn in the aftermath of the shooting of Corporal Nathan Cirillo (a reservist with the Argylls and Sutherland Highlanders) on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, October 22, 2014:

Here is Corp Cirillo guarding the national war memorial:

The Argylls and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada on parade.

(I thought I was just posting links to original sites, but the images are showing up. Copyright remains with original sources).

 

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.”

.

 

poem- weak longevity August 24, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:34 am
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My father age twenty-five.

his desires divided,

stood in line with naked men

waiting for the army to welcome them.

They listened to his slow, weak heart,

and said he’d stay home to do his part.

My father age twenty-five

managed to stay alive.

While his friends went off to foreign shores,

at home he built bombers for the war.

His friends returned broken and stayed,

with their damaged mates from their brigades.

Dad was whole and grieved the loss

of friendships torn by life or death.

On the decades rolled

and now each soul

who stood entwined within that line

is gone, save dad, whose slow, frail heart

turned out to be his strongest part.

Dad thinks back upon that line,

and celebrates birthday ninety-nine.

 

 
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