The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

A Cautionary Tale of Fowl Behaviour

Listen to Emma read her poem ...
Arthur the mallard wore bovver boots
on his webbed and wicked feet.
He’d wing slap and peck at other birds
with his steel-tipped vicious beak.

He’d patrol along the brown canal
to the humpbacked bridge and back
and woe betide the water birds
who ventured on his patch.

He’d stare down boats and herons,
send coots and moorhens flying.
Take on a snout-toothed pike,
duck ducklings, set them crying.

There was no explanation
for Arthur being so ghastly.
No possible rhyme or reason why
a mallard might turn nasty?

Stuffed so full with puffed up pride
at his ducky reign of terror,
he believed himself untouchable,
though nothing lasts forever.

The waterways are safer now
since Arthur’s sad demise,
some say his disappearance
was a blessing in disguise.

The night that Arthur vanished
no one registered a thing,
save the slight whiff of a foxy bark,
downy feathers on the wind.

About the Writer

Emma Purshouse

Emma Purshouse is a writer and performance poet. She writes for both children and adults. Her children's poetry collection 'I Once Knew a Poem Who Wore a Hat' is published by Fair Acre Press and won the poetry section of the Rubery Book Award in 2016.