Shawn L. Bird

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

poem-the river’s bride March 27, 2016

Oh, her longings are loud

and she seizes opportunities,

reads the mysteries and leaps.


Oh, her caution curls her

into weeping domesticity,

because she never neglects responsibilities.


Oh, love leaps from the river

like a dolphin and tangles in

fishermen’s nets

and bridal veils.



A little homage to the theatrical presentation of the Brazilian folk tale The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta, enjoying its world premier at Oregon Shakespeare Festival at the moment (2016 season).  We thoroughly enjoyed the complex tale with its stunning set and lighting!



poem- wedding trauma July 20, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:40 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The four year old leukemia patient

asked her nurse to marry her, and he said yes.

Then the whole floor got together to make a wedding:

flowers, brides maids, walk down the aisle on rose petals.

Ring pops were exchanged.

“This is the best day of my life!” the child bride exclaimed.

Youtube wedding video shared. Oh how cute! proclaims the internet.


I remember being four years old,

adoring the oldest son of our family friend.

His sisters all thought my devotion was adorable.

“I’ll wait for you,” he said with a kind smile.

And I believed him.

Then when I was nine, a wedding invitation came.

“You can’t have thought he was serious!” my mother snickered

at my distress.

I was rude to the bride, and no one understood why.

But I had learned that grown-ups lie and when your childish heart is crushed

they think it’s cute and kind of funny.

I remember, it was neither

for me.





Adults need to remember that children’s feelings are REAL, and that what’s ‘pretend’ is not always clear. When adults enter into imaginary play with such enthusiasm, they must do so with great care.  I confess, I’ve never quite forgiven that older brother (now 67!!) for crushing my childish heart’s expectation. While I definitely appreciate the intentions of all involved in this quote wedding unquote, I do hope Abby is not as crushed as I was to learn the truth.

Side story: the rudeness was that I told the bride her bridal hat was horrible and no one should wear hats at their wedding.  When it came time for my own wedding, I tried on a gorgeous bridal hat that looked fantastic on me.  Always sensible to hypocrisy, I chose not to get it.  (Looking at wedding photos from my era, I suspect that was probably for the best).

Article about the hospital wedding here.


poem-I do July 17, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:50 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,



Maybe so.

I love you, but

I love you,


I love you, so

I will.

Do you?

I do.





If this poem had a ‘gag reel’ it would include

I love your


(cough)  But it doesn’t.  So pretend you didn’t read that.

Happy Anniversary #30 to my long-suffering man. 🙂

Five years ago, when this blog was only a couple of months old, I posted this anniversary thought, complete with sepia toned wedding photo… 


poem- wasted day October 2, 2014

On this day

I remember a ghost anniversary,

the day in 1976

when my sister was married.

My 12 year old figure was

encased in my mother’s girdle

beneath a hideous rust bridesmaid gown.

I sported a new Vidal Sasoon bob,

felt bold and grown up with

my uni-brow plucked.

I remember my father’s scowl

when a groomsman with waist length hair

obeying rattling spoons, bent to kiss me,

and the resulting blush.

The marriage lasted four years.

My daughter wore the hideous dress

when she was twelve.

She called herself a princess;

rust suits her.

Too bad my sister

never saw it.




You know, that whole girdle thing is really weird.  I was not a pudgy child by any reckoning.  I probably weighed about 95 lbs around the time of this wedding.  I recall it was my idea, so I must have been self-conscious of a little paunch, which at 12, was not paunch at all.  Very strange how girls are, isn’t it?


I looked for the wedding photos in the album, but it looks like I took them out of those photo eating ‘magnetic’ glued albums, and who knows where I put them.  Sorry!



poem-stitching July 16, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:07 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

So long ago

sewing tiny pearl beads

around a gauzy net

to form a bridal halo

stitching dreams together.

Drops of crimson

from pricked fingers

drip upon the silk flower crown

white for purity

red for courage

blood for





Anniversary approaching.  You can see the veil in question on an older post here.


graduate school: it’s in the mail! February 24, 2013

I love learning. I like researching and writing papers. I like developing programs and evaluating them. I like coming up with innovative ways of doing things. I love the satisfaction of successfully meeting a challenge.  In short, I’m a nerd.

This also means, I probably should have applied for grad school years ago. It was first suggested to me by a teaching assistant in a Women’s History course I did back about 1989. At the time, in a one income household with a toddler and baby, it was just something to sigh about and say, “Some day…”

I did apply for an extremely competitive Creative Writing program at an eminent university two years running. They have very, very low acceptance rate, but I figured, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” As it happened, I received the second rejection the same day I got my first royalty cheque from Grace, and somehow that told me that it didn’t matter. Most people enter that program so they can get a royalty cheque. I was ahead without them. I will continue to develop those skills working with amazing authors, attending conferences, reading, and being challenged by my editor and friend, Vikki.

I still want to learn though, and I want the credential, because it will open other opportunities. Today I dropped two grad school applications in the mail. Ideally, I’m going explore the Finnish education system and how it can be adapted for use in B.C. I’ll focus on some sort of curriculum development, either in the traditional class room or via distance learning. Both options offer all sorts of exciting prospects, so I’m eager to see where I’ll end up.

Should I confess that my biggest fear is that if I end up in a program that requires weekend study, that it will impact the May 2014 weekend when Diana Gabaldon will come to be presenter at the Shuswap Association of Writers’ Word on the Lake Festival of Writers and Readers? The grad school will have to do without me that weekend, as I’ve already booked it off! My kids aren’t allowed to get married that weekend either. I have my priorities.

And how should I celebrate this new adventure? Some would raise a drink with friends, or take their honey out for dinner. I’m celebrating with new Vogs, culled from the collection of the ultimate Vogger, Rebecca in Winnipeg.

Welcome to the family Fluevog Second Miracle Cascades…   (See if you can find them in the group photo of Rebecca’s shoes, in the link above!)



literary wedding August 13, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:03 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m still thinking of weddings and anniversaries!  Yesterday our niece Sara married Mario in a simple backyard ceremony.  Congratulations,  you two!  We were unable to attend due to my high school reunion, but apparently it inspired some writing.  That’s the thing about real life.  It tends to show up in our writing, though often with extensive imaginary embellishment!

A month or so back, I posted the start of a story called 479 which is set at a wedding.  I asked for some suggestions.  I also learned that if by any chance I wanted to enter the piece in a short story competition at SIWC I can’t post the rest of it.  So…

I did finish manage to finish it yesterday, though.  So if you’re wondering what happens in the next 1500 words, I will tell you that there are two fires, a murder, a hidden room, and a polygamist involved.  For the rest of details, you’ll just have to wait until October 23!

(I did say extensive imaginary embellishment!) 🙂


6 pillars of a strong marriage August 8, 2012

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:15 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Following on the heels of yesterday’s post on the purpose of marriage, here are what I consider the six most important components to a lasting relationship.  There have to be a few pillars, because let’s face it, pillars do get knocked out from under us.  If one or two of these is damaged on life’s journey, the other pillars are strong enough to hold up the marriage while rebuilding occurs.


1. mutual respect

Precisely what you respect might differ, but you have to value your spouse as an individual.   Intellect? Accomplishments?  Acumen?  Beauty?  Skills?  It doesn’t matter.  If you respect each other for who you are, you acknowledge personal value.


2. communication

Problems will come up.  If you are able to hear one another and work together to solve them, you can overcome them.


3. common purpose

Your goal may be to maintain a middle-class life or to conquer the world.  You may share a faith or intellectual pursuits.  Whatever it is, if you’re both of the same mind and working within the same expectations, your relationship will grow.


4. mutual affection

If you genuinely like your partner as a person, it’s much easier to live with them and their inevitable foibles.  Friends make the best lovers.


5. trust

Trust is earned and must be maintained by constant vigilance.  You need to be reliable and consistent, abiding by the understanding and expectations that you develop together.


6. tenacity

If you are not willing to leave the marriage if problems come up, then you have to negotiate.  You are forced to find solutions to the challenges.  Not being willing to accept the possibility of failure goes a very long way to ensuring success.


Did you notice what was missing from my list?  🙂   I suspect that passion is like the paint on a house.  It makes it look nice, but it has absolutely nothing to do with soundness of the structure beneath.  I wouldn’t want to live in a passionless marriage, but should my spouse be sliced in half in some horrible accident, all the things that make our marriage strong would still be there.

The neurologists talk about the brain chemistry that keeps couples together and passion plays a crucial role.  Check out The Science of Love.  Is all emotion neurological?  Pragmatically, does it matter?

PS 2013/06 I’m thinking that for all my talk of pillars, the walls are the physical intimacies of a sexual relationship.  Yes, the roof/relationship stays up without it, but it’s a lot warmer inside if there are walls to keep out the winds!


the purpose of marriage August 7, 2012

Filed under: Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:13 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve been thinking a bit about marriage, this being a season of new marriages and significant anniversaries in our circle.  We are seeing everything from the blush of new couplings, to those having reached a half century and stretching beyond.

Marriage serves many purposes.  Once upon a time, a marriage could forge alliances, settle feuds, and enlarge estates.  The bride was property to exchange, and  the children would be the beneficiaries of those alliances.  That was a long view of marriage, a kind of dynastic vision with the individuals’ place firmly seen as a small cog in a greater machine of familial destiny and power mongering.

Nowadays, we tend not to think such of great thoughts and purpose.  Sure, a spouse with a rich or influential family provides a nice security, and undoubtedly a youthful trophy on an man’s arm gives him at least an imagined superiority over others.  Some pay for their shallow reasons in hefty divorce settlements, and that’s the price of doing such business.

Way back in the second book of Genesis, God declares, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen 2:18)  and so God fashioned woman.  Consider some ways to interpret that:  a helper is a help mate, a companion, a consort, an accomplice, a partner, a protector, a guide, and a colleague (so says the on-line thesaurus).

A spouse (whatever the gender) must be all those things.  What first brings a couple together may be prosaic, and some romantics might scoff at the dispassionate process that bonds some couples, though I think such sober decision making provides stronger glue than the chemical waterfalls of attraction and biological imperative.  Sexual coupling requires far less effort than a lifetime partnership, after all.   I know a lot of people who choose toxic partners repeatedly and then bemoan their horrible relationships.  It seems ironic in the extreme that they don’t recognise that “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.”  Choose your life partner for more important reasons than the colour of his eyes or how she looks in her jeans.

I once heard that falling in love releases massive amounts of hormones into your system.  The result is that your brain is numbed and drugged, as the rush of dopamine is equivalent to a cocaine high.  You can’t make rational decisions when you’re so befuddled.  I heard that it takes a full year for your brain to clear the chemicals so you can think lucidly again.

The most important question to ask yourself when your brain function returns is “Why should I marry this person?  What would the purpose of such a marriage be?”  When you can step back and study the goals, you stand the best chance of making a marriage that will have staying power.


forever June 23, 2012

Filed under: Mythology,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

“No measure of time with you will be long enough, but let’s start with forever.”

Edward’s wedding  speech

Twilight Breaking Dawn (pt 1)

Having just finished draft two of Grace Awakening Myth, this whole “I’ll love you forever, if all those evil doers keep out of my way long enough” thing has been on my mind.  Is it easier to love someone forever when you have to keep fighting for them?  If someone is just always ‘there’ and not at risk, is it too easy to take them for granted?

Here are Bella and Edward at their wedding, finally everything is going their way, but no one gets happy ever after at the beginning of a book.  Forever has to work through adversity.


%d bloggers like this: