The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Orcadia

Rachel Burrows

We are on the beach before breakfast,
Sol in his pyjamas, with sleep in his eyes.

The water is too cold, even for toes.

We can hear the whales in the bay beyond us,
See their spouts on the enormous expanse
of chalk-blue stillness.

There is no one else here.
We have the world to ourselves.
We gaze out over the freezing sand,
where black stones play chequers with white shells.
And my sister says, ‘Let’s make an orca,
like the one we saw yesterday.’
And we know, at once, it will be perfect.
Even Mum and Dad join in
as we scour the tideline.
And black stone, by white shell,
Our orca is born.

And Elliot says it needs a home -
like a kingdom for whales.
So we hunt for treasure
and return with a hoard
of driftwood and oarweed, charcoal and clay
And we plait and we weave and we shape and we carve
And we create a kingdom
A whale-palace,
a haven.
Orcadia

And as the sun creeps higher
our tummies start to rumble.
And at nine o’clock prompt,
the whale-watching boats
start up their fuggy engines.

And the sounds of the whales
In the bay
Disappear.

About the Writer


Rachel Burrows

Rachel is a mum and a teacher, but also a noticer of things. She loves standing still and absorbing - taking in the sounds, smells and secrets of our world. She has travelled far and is frequently found in pea-patches.