The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Wings on Windermere

A poem for Holocaust Memorial Day #HMD2023
Listen to Jonathan read his poem ...
In Troutbeck where they built the boats
that flew on wings from Windermere,
a part of Paradise prepared
for victims scarred by mindless hate.
Three hundred came from Prague that day
on Stirling bombers through the air;
the shadows of young boys and girls
who’d seen inside the Third Reich gates.

With marks of Hell upon their arms,
with features gaunt and hollow eyes,
what questions raced when they arrived
in Westmorland’s Calgarth Estate?
Instead of loathing based on race,
abuse that left them traumatised,
they found clean beds, fresh linen sheets
and buttered bread piled high on plates.

No more the shrill and callous voice;
they found a friendly word each day,
a lake to swim and woods to run,
a chance to learn and heal the pain.
And given paper, brush and paint,
some time to think, relax and play,
the children took a few steps on
the road to health; to smile again.

Less than a year for hope to spring,
a space to breathe, some dignity,
within this refuge by the lake
those summer months in forty-five.
From shadows how the children grew,
to rise against adversity,
when like the Calgarth flying boats,
from Windermere they learnt to fly.

About the Writer

Jonathan Humble

Jonathan lives in Cumbria. His work has been published online and in print in a number of magazines and anthologies. His first collection of poetry, My Camel's Name Is Brian, was published by TMB Books in 2015. His second poetry book, Fledge came out in 2020 through Maytree Press. His poems for children have been shortlisted and highly commended in the Caterpillar and Yorkmix poetry competitions and he is the editor of The Dirigible Balloon. His poems Masterclass and This Work is Done were chosen as the Milk House Poem of the Year at the end of 2022 and 2023.