The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children


At times when I feel weighted down by things that seem unfair,
I dream of life in outer space, of floating light as air.
I wake up oh-so-weightless, fly with friends to school at eight.
I hover during homeroom, soar in art as I create.

I chase my lunch as it strays off and catch a bite mid-flight.
I coast in chem and sail through essays teacher makes us write.
On my way home, I freewheel on my astronautic bike.
My pug becomes a puppy kite, out on our stellar hike.

At night as I spin off to sleep, I find my mind is clear.
My heavy thoughts have drifted off into the atmosphere.
Without the pull of gravity, I float through cosmic hush,
past constellations, shooting stars, and sparkling astral dust.

I bring the feeling of free-floating back to Earth with me.
I’m ready to let worries go—I’m weightless and carefree.

First published in IMPERFECT II, edited by Tabatha Yeatts, April 2022

About the Writer

Helen Kemp Zax

Helen Kemp Zax loves to write poetry, especially poems that rhyme. Her debut picture book Little Witch’s To-Do List will be published by Abrams Appleseed in 2025. She is co-winner of the 2021 YorkMix International Children’s Poetry Prize, the 2018 MG Katherine Paterson Prize winner, and a 2019 Finalist. Helen's poetry appears in anthologies like The Sea’s Song and Chasing Clouds and in magazines like The Caterpillar. She lives in Washington, D. C. with her husband and their crazy Aussie-doodle Huckleberry Finn.