The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children


(After W. H. Auden)

This is the mail that has moved at near light-speed
which, on present-day Earth, is the absolute right speed.

Plenty of letters are carried by carriers
trudging through blizzards or barked at by terriers,

or transferred by horse or by truck or by freight train,
zipping like wind or delayed on a late train.

Yet now we’ve got streams of electrons that bucket
through cables in seconds from Nuuk to Nantucket.

Imagine a parcel transported by pigeon.
Now data, prodigious or scarcely a smidgen,

flies round the whole planet by pressing a button,
expressing a sentiment thoughtful or cuttin’.

The best thing about it? No paper keeps piling
and piling and piling in piles for filing.

But texting and texting? Too slow and too tiring!
Just pick up the phone. What’s so hard about dialing?

About the Writer

Martin J Elster

Martin J. Elster lives in Hartford, Connecticut. He was, for many years, a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In addition to playing and composing music, Martin finds contentment in long walks in the woods or the city and in writing poetry, which often alludes to creatures and plants he encounters on his walks. Martin’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad. A full-length collection, Celestial Euphony, was published by Plum White Press in 2019.