helium balloon poem

The following is a poem I have been working on for quite some time. It is very personal to me, and it can represent a lot of things. I will let you decide what your red balloon is. A lot of people I know struggle with various “thorns” in their sides and some with pretty strong addictions to things from eating to men to alcohol. This is for them because they are brave like this. I do not claim to have life all wrapped up like this with an ending neat and clean. In fact, the ending isn’t really neat and clean… but it does end on an upswing, as if to say that if we surrender, we can know these things… if not today, then eventually. It will make sense when you read it.

The most enticing red balloon

flew into my yard today.

A beautiful, rich, hard-to-resist

red balloon filled with helium

and tied with a string

which I attach to myself

so it won’t fly away.

A red helium balloon in which

I take delight.

I love its light flight and subtle bounce

as I twirl and dance

in my summer dress of billowing white.

A new red balloon to carry away my dreams

to places I long to discover

places where the wind

carries us along

where everything is just as I imagined

as I give chase with laughter.

Even tied to my wrist

my balloon teases me as

it lets me come near

and then floats just out of reach


then lower

then dangerously close to popping

on branches of a blooming tree

that holds it loosely for me

until I reach up and take hold

of the shiny, round balloon.

My shiny, round balloon.

Grasping it lightly between my fingertips

I try not to damage it

and carry it home

where I slip it off of my wrist

and put it gently aside

until tomorrow

when I can play yet again

with this new object

that makes me happy and childlike

— until night closes in

and I no longer wear a summer dress

of billowy white.

I wrap myself now in wool

which seems appropriate

although I don’t know why.

And I give way to sleep,

submitting myself to

heavy eyelids

and weary muscles,

which ache inside me.

Yet I am restless

and teeter between sweet dreams

and nightmares

where my red balloon

takes a life of its own

and jolts me upright,

demanding I take notice

of its bold presence

there in my room

where I no longer know

if I am awake or asleep.

I stretch my arms to grab hold

of it floating above me

waiting for my light touch

to nudge it into the air

so it can take flight once again

without concern for things such as

time or place

or other interruptions

that often cloud my days.

My smile has faded

as I am consumed by something

I cannot name.

Something that

lurches me out of bed.

Something that compels me

like a magnet toward the balloon.

My balloon.

I pick it up

noticing its new shape,

different in my hands.

It is not as full

not as smooth

not as shiny.

I let it go without

appearing too disappointed

that it did not stay the same,

wanting it to be the same,

willing it to be the same,

— please be the same.

I watch it fall to the floor

and bounce just slightly

until it stays in one spot

hovering wistfully above the beige carpet

threatening to land

as if yesterday’s games were too much.

The game of “hide and seek”

and “catch-me-if-you-can.”

The game of “tag, you’re it.”

The games we played.

The games I played.

Even as it hovers

and shows its weakness,

my balloon still calls to me

teases me

even yearns for me,

or so I think.

I bend down and go to it again,

and lift my red balloon

tossing it in the air,

with more force

added energy

focused resolve

–eventually giving in to anger.

Anger that my object

no longer appears as bright

or round

or full.

All it can do is


for a moment

then fall…







where gravity wins

and my dream loses.

I start to tremble

as I fall to the floor

exhausted at my attempts

to resurrect my dying balloon.

The one who floated into my backyard

and lured me away

with its magical promises

and whispers of a happier tomorrow.

The balloon that held me captive

as I gazed at its shiny exterior

which appeared so full, so perfect.

The balloon that sits before me.

The balloon that has lost its allure.

The balloon that gave me

unmerited hope and false assurance.

I watch it shrivel now,

watch it meet its inevitable death

going the way all balloons eventually go.

I hold its wrinkly remains

and drop heavy, regrettable tears

into my palms, and onto the balloon.

The balloon.

Even in the midst of revelation

and clarity, I wonder if my tears

could water it back to life.

I cry harder at the grief that consumes me

as I fight between truth and lies

that swirl around me

and vie for my attention.

As I wipe my last tear

and open my eyes,

I look down at my hands

palms facing upward

in an act of surrender.

The balloon is gone.

My hands are empty.

It is finished, I hear.

And then just as the words enter my head,

my eyes behold a great light

radiating from my upturned hands.

A new promise, I think to myself,

knowing now that I am fully awake.

A real promise.

A real hope.

A real peace.

A real joy.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “helium balloon poem

  1. wow. i saw this entry earlier in the day and waited to read it until i had a quiet moment to really take it in. it was worth the wait. it is something i needed to read and think about right now. thank you for sharing it.

  2. Misty


    SUCH good stuff, Lynn.


    So great.

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