The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Family Tree

‘For homework this week,’ Miss Shaw told the class,
You’ll be making a family tree
Talk to your relatives, write it all down
And return it by Monday to me

So Kelly got started with ruler and pens
Recording each adult and child
She rang aunties and uncles to check on the facts
And by Monday the work was compiled.

On a wallpaper roll that was bigger than her
She’d set out each generation
And she’d joined them all up with precision and care
To show marriages, deaths and relations

“My mum’s in a heart above me and my sis
I’ve written my brother in too
My dad and his girlfriend are there at the edge
She’s in pencil because she’s quite new.

Holly, my cousin, is written in pink
With a circle of yellow stars
I’ve got other cousins like Megan and Tom
But Holly’s my favourite by far

I’ve got two real aunties called Jenny and Sue
I’ve written their names out in pen
In pencil are aunties who work with my mum
And people we see now and then

Dad’s brother Micky still visits sometimes
And he helps out when something needs done
I once heard my mum say to her sister Sue
That she probably picked the wrong one.

I’ve tried to connect us with arrows or lines
In the corner I’ve written a key
Except for my guinea-pigs Wiggles and Bob
‘Cos they’re not related to me.

About the Writer

John Svatins

John teaches in Cumbria and when not in the classroom, he loves to walk the fells with Sid the Dog. Writing poetry makes him happy and gives him a chance to be very silly. His poems and stories can be found at