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John Berryman - The Ball Poem

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.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 4043 times | Comments and analysis of The Ball Poem by John Berryman Comments (339)

The Ball Poem - Comments and Information

Poet: John Berryman
Poem: The Ball Poem
Volume: Collected Poems 1937-1971
Poem of the Day: Nov 23 2012

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