The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

The Importance of Being Yourself

“Little duck,” said the toad. “Why do you cry?”
“Because I want to be an eagle,” little duck replied.
“And because I can’t fly.
Because I can’t see the world from the top of the sky.
I can’t screech or grab things with my webbed feet.
I can’t do anything more
Than sit in a puddle and watch the eagles soar.”
“Well what can you do?” the old toad said.
Little duckling sat up and shook her head.
“Nothing at all, besides walk on the ground,
And swim in the river, and listen to sounds
Of the earth. And ruffle my feathers to shake off the dirt.”
“Sounds like something important to me:
To be keeper of sounds, to swim so free.
One day, you’ll fly like an eagle, you’ll see.
Until then, be a duckling to the best of your ability.”

About the Writer

Veronica Szczygiel

Veronica Szczygiel, Ph.D., is a writer and Director of Online Learning at Fordham University in New York City. She loves to hike and camp with her survivalist husband and their rescue dog Sonia. She gardens with her adopted cat Shadow in her magical urban backyard, bakes bread and fruit tarts, paints landscapes, travels, and reads avidly. Veronica has published in Highlights High Five, FAITH, Radiant, Busted Halo and other multimedia publications. You can find her work on her website,