The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Ha Noi

Have you ever heard
the first bird take flight
in a city just starting to wake?
You can hear every muscle
in the slap of its wings
As it swoops over temple and lake.

Have you ever seen
a whole shop unfold
from under a thin metal door?
In a magical moment,
colour bursts from the entrance,
toys and games cover ceiling and floor.

Have you ever sat
on the back of a motorbike
looking around as you go?
Maybe one day, you’ll try it
and gaze up above
as the balcony flowers overflow.

Have you ever eaten
a soup so delicious,
you slurped noodles all down your chin?
Pho’ is warm, rich and salty,
with tingles of lime,
and you can’t help but drink it all in.

Have you ever dreamt
that adventures await
and you’re longing to go and explore?
There are so many places
to go but be warned:
When you see one, you’ll want to see more!

About the Writer

Gillian Spiller

Gillian Spiller is a Scottish poet and children’s author, who has spent many years living and teaching in S-E Asia, E Asia and the Middle East. She is the author of four picture books, The Blue Sock (2019), Star Sailor (2020), On The Shelf (2021) and A Shell for Cleo (2022) by Marshall Cavendish Ltd. (Asia). Her poetry for children is available on the British Council’s Learn English Kids website, as well as here on The Dirigible Balloon.