The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

On a Walk Through Town

Listen to Rhiannon Oliver reading her poem
We see glitter in cracks in the pavement,
Foil balloons tied onto trees,
We see a squirrel jump out of a bin with a start,
And crisp packets dance in the breeze.

We see flyers for things that happened last year
Crawling through sprawling hedges,
Receipts for shopping long since forgotten
Flitting by littered curb edges.

We see plastic bags fighting the railings,
Desperate to fly wild and free.
We see bottles and packets, containers and cans,
Cuddling up with the trees.

But it’s fine! The trees still grow, the buds still bloom,
The flowers still look to the sun,
The insects and birds and squirrels and mice
Continue to creep, fly, and run.

Except for the times when the squirrels and mice
Choke on abandoned plastic,
Or the hungry bird hunting for worms
Finds his beak wrapped up in elastic.

And there’s also the creature whose gentle tread
Is marred by broken glass,
Or the one who dies in a glass jar jail
Well hidden in the grass.

Not forgetting the plants who can’t feel the rain
As they’re drowning in fields of waste,
Or the buds that stay closed as they can’t find the sun
And are lost to the human race.

And race we must, because it will get worse,
The rubbish will loom larger each day,
Until it reaches the sky and takes over the clouds
And nature loses her way.

There is something so good about nature’s attempt
To hold fast onto her glory,
But our rubbish is slowly destroying her
And it’s time to change the story.

About the Writer

Rhiannon Oliver

Rhiannon is an actress, writer, workshop leader and mum from Cardiff. She graduated from RADA in 2004 and has performed with companies such as Shakespeare’s Globe, The National Theatre, BBC and Sky 1. Rhiannon started sharing her poems in Spring 2021 and has upcoming publications in Nawr Magazine, and anthologies with Nine Pens Press and Arachne Press. In June 2021, she was named Spoken Word Runner-Up in Poetry for Good, a national poetry competition celebrating key workers. She has recently started writing poetry for children and is currently working on a rhyming middle grade adventure story.