The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Tidying the Room of Despair

At the top of our stairs, there's a door that I fear
My pulse rate quickens every time I go near
Beyond it lies something so fearsome they say
Most people would sooner be far far away

I'm braver than many but when I open the door
It still freaks me out that I can't see the floor
What's happened inside is real hard to explain
It looks like a junkyard got hit by a train

There are tottering piles of old comics and books
And a carpet of clothes that should be on hooks
Empty plates, old crisp packets, dregs of some squash
Unidentified things in need of a wash

Random models in Lego - the rest scattered blocks
Presenting a hazard to people in socks
A collection of soft toys - snakes, dogs and bears
Peer out from the shambles with desperate stares

Drawers all left open, you'd think we'd been burgled
What was that noise? I swear something just gurgled
Has the mess taken on a life of its own?
Is it going to drive us out of our home?

We can't let that happen - do something I must
I’ve asked him to tidy, he’s simply not fussed
Next time will be different - I'll try to insist
But knowing my son I expect he'll resist

He’ll pretend he’s too young at just nine years old
And that I've never taught him to tidy and fold
The task is too great he will say with a grin
Go on please Dad, won't you be kind and pitch in?

I'll make it quite plain that the job is all his
But I know deep down what will happen is this
There'll be some homework that he really must do
Or a desperate need to visit the loo

So the person who tidies and sorts out the mess
Won't be my dear son I'm ashamed to confess
I'll put stuff in cupboards and unearth the floor
Make it less shocking when you open the door

Oh why, you may ask, would I go to such lengths
The answer is tidiness is one of my strengths
Something genetic? I very much doubt it
My son seems to manage quite well without it

About the Writer

Christopher Smith

Christopher is a stay-at-home dad of two who lives near Cambridge in the UK. He grew up in a house with no television but an enormous number of books. He loves to read but also to write. His ambition is to write the script for a film that will leave a lasting impression on the people who watch it. In his spare time, he makes puppets, cultivates an allotment, and crafts things out of wood.