The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children


Myfanwy hovers at the door.
A rainy day. And who’ll come out
to throw a ball, to run and shout,
to sit at tea? A nagging doubt
consumes her. In her narrow store

of birthdays, there’s no precedent
for weather. It is almost time
to hear the quiet doorbell chime.
She turns, as if in pantomime,
to scowl at Edward, who was sent

to let her know the table’s laid –
which he does, more or less. The cake
has seven candles. You can take
your later birthdays. Who will make
Myfanwy’s heart the lemonade

of troubles overcome? Around
this hour, the doorbell rings, and she
is there to turn the handle. We
who waited with her, happily
greet Annie, wet, but safe and sound.

About the Writer

John Claiborne Isbell

John is a teacher of other languages, French and German in particular. He has taught people aged five to sixty-five over the years, and is currently living with his wife Margarita in Paris, where he enjoys asking questions of the people he meets.