The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

How to See a Dragon

after Adrian Mitchell

Close your eyes.
See a rickety old bridge before you,
cobwebs glistening in the early morning mist.
Slowly, carefully, cross over the bubbling stream.
Crunch along the leaf-strewn path up under the trees,
all burnt orange, amber and crimson.
Come out in a vast meadow on a golden hillside.
See, towering above you, a great mountain.
Swish through the long grasses to a small, wooden gate.
Open the gate and slowly, carefully, one step at a time,
make your way up the steep, rocky track
that winds around that great mountain,
until you reach the gaping mouth of a cave.
Tiptoe silently inside.
Wait, for your eyes to adjust to the dim light.
What is that shadowy heap
sprawled at the back of the cave,
wreathed in a thin veil of smoke?
It is the dragon, most majestic, most magical of beasts.
Hear the deep, rumbling thunder of a dragon asleep.
Breathe the sharp scent of burning.
See the sparks that, for an instant,
light up the whole cave with each outward breath.
Catch a glimpse of the glittering, jewel-encrusted scaly skin;
the long, strong, ridged tail; the claws.
Do not move.
Slowly, carefully, when you are ready,
open your eyes.
Remember the dragon.

About the Writer

Jacqueline Shirtliff

Jacqueline is a poet and primary school teacher on the Isle of Man. One of her favourite things is helping children to love poetry and reading and encouraging them to be writers themselves. She lives in a rose-covered cottage near the sea and enjoys gardening, crochet, and playing the tuba and harp, but not all at the same time! You can read some of her other poems in The Caterpillar, Tyger Tyger, Northern Gravy, The Toy, and Little Thoughts Press.