Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Part Three: Nature 105. You've seen balloons set, haven't you?


You've seen balloons set, haven't you?

So stately they ascend

It is as swans discarded you

For duties diamond.

Their liquid feet go softly out

Upon a sea of blond;

They spurn the air as 't were too mean

For creatures so renowned.

Their ribbons just beyond the eye,

They struggle some for breath,

And yet the crowd applauds below;

They would not encore death.

The gilded creature strains and spins,

Trips frantic in a tree,

Tears open her imperial veins

And tumbles in the sea.

The crowd retire with an oath

The dust in streets goes down,

And clerks in counting-rooms observe,

''T was only a balloon.'