51 Ways to Lose a Balloon – a poem by Craig Raine

On flickr we found a nice illustration by artist nancyhc of parts of “51 Ways to Lose a Balloon” from Oxford-based poet Craig Raine’s new collection How Snow Falls. The poem has fun exploring the breadth of children’s imaginations….

“Here is your balloon. Heart-shaped, hard with helium, filled from an iron cigar. It has more creases than your baby sister’s arm. Be careful. There are 51 ways to lose it.”

Some of the 51 ways include:

“3. The string of your balloon feels like the light-string in the lavatory so you pull it once and let go.”

“7. You think you want to pop your balloon so you get a pin and scratch it. It pops before you have properly decided.”

“11. You are writing your name on your balloon when the nib goes through.”

“25. You watch the sea trying to stand up. But it always falls down, until you forget what you have in your hand…”

“36. There’s a friendly dog in the street who jumps at your face like someone playing netball.”

“??. You see a bubble car. It’s like watching someone driving a poached egg and you start to laugh and….”

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About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to istanbuljohnm@hotmail.co.uk.
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