The Ball Poem

Boy standing at the edge of a pond.
Boy standing at the edge of a pond.
Afifa Afrin / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

The Ball Poem

by John Berryman
What is the boy now, who has lost his ball.
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over—there it is in the water!
No use to say ‘O there are other balls’:
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went. I would not intrude on him,
A dime, another ball, is worthless. Now
He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take balls,
Balls will be lost always, little boy,
And no one buys a ball back. Money is external.
He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,
The epistemology of loss, how to stand up
Knowing what every man must one day know
And most know many days, how to stand up
And gradually light returns to the street,
A whistle blows, the ball is out of sight.
Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark
Floor of the harbour . . I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me, under the water
Or whistling, I am not a little boy.

15 thoughts on “The Ball Poem”

  1. I think that everything everyone experiences is teaching him what it is. The little boy learned to cheer up after losing the ball. This matter is only a small part of his life, and he can’t give up his life because he lost the ball. Just like the coronavirus we are facing, we are not living at the end of the world, it will get better someday. We must also adjust our mentality, we must believe that the light of dawn will come after the night has passed.

  2. I agree with Qing zhang, Every difficulty we encounter, every cry, laugh or any emotion is just a trivial matter. But it will be an experience for us in the future, we will learn new knowledge from different experiences

  3. I agree with Qing zhang, every one of us should look at life optimistically, thinking about the beauty of the future, don’t let the darkness break us down, we must firmly believe that the future will be better

  4. When the boy lost his ball he realizes wanting and needing are two different things, he felt responsible for his lost, and it does hurt him. Just like now, trying to buy what we need instead of what is self-wanting.

  5. I agree with Qing zhang, we encounter many problems and barriers on a regular day basis. The only way to grown and learn from our problems and struggles is not by letting them sit there and stare at them. Just like the little boy who looked at this ball float away. In a sense dealing with out problems means growing up and facing them head on

  6. In his poem’ The Ball Poem’ writer John Berryman is describing about a boy who has lost his ball. The ball skipped from his hand and got lost into a nearby lake. He also says that the boy was helplessly looking into the water where he lost his ball. He again says that he could console the boy or he could buy another ball but he stopped himself to do that. He further says that it is time for the boy to learn his responsibilities. We can learn from this poem that the situation what we are facing during covid-19,this epidemic is not the end of the world. It will get better someday.

  7. I think that this poem is important. To me, the ball is a metaphor. “In a world of possessions. People will take balls, balls will be lost always… And no one buys a ball back.” I think the ball can be a metaphor for time. In a world full of materialistic wants and needs, people will take time. People may also lose time but you cannot buy it back. At the end of the poem, that little boy grows up. Time doesn’t wait for anyone, nor can it be bargained. It can get lost just the same.

  8. I think that this poem is important. To me, the ball is a metaphor. “In a world of possessions. People will take balls, balls will be lost always… And no one buys a ball back.” I think the ball can be a metaphor for time. In a world full of materialistic wants and needs, people will take time. People may also lose time but you cannot buy it back. At the end of the poem, that little boy grows up. Time doesn’t wait for anyone, nor can it be bargained. It can get lost just the same.

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