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THE BALL POEM by John Berriman

This poem is about losing something that you love, and learning to grow up.

It is about a little boy, who for the first time in his young life, is learning what it is like to experience grief at the loss of a much beloved possession his ball. To us, the loss of a ball is of minor consequence, and our reaction to it is to say O there are other balls . But to a little boy, this is not so. A dime, another ball, is worthless. Money is external, it cannot buy back our love, nor replace the things that we love: the things that really matter.

In this poem, the boy s ball personifies his young days and happy innocence. In this world, people will take balls just as they will take away our innocence and force us to grow up. And once we lose this innocence, we can never get it back. Balls will be lost always, little boy, and no one buys a ball back. This poem goes to show how, all throughout your life, you will be forced to do things that you don t want to do; and you will lose or have to give up the things that you love. But, despite this, you have to learn to stand up to be strong and get on with your life no matter how much it hurts inside. Because that is the only way you will survive; you have to learn to accept and let go and not cling onto something that you can never have.

The poet uses imagery when describing how the ball personifies the spirit of the boy s childish innocence. In the last five lines, we visualize how the spirit of this little boy, like the ball, is sinking into the dark waters of the harbour. As it drifts further away, the boy learns to grow up, and that part of him that is linked to that ball grows up as well, until it is no longer a little boy.

This poem consists of only one stanza. There is no rhyming, but the poet instead conveys his meaning through the rhythm, the tone, and his use of words. E.g. in the lines I saw it go, merrily bouncing down the street, and then merrily over the short, brisk, happy words allow you to visualize a ball bouncing along. In the lines 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. The words and rhythm is tragic, dramatic and harsh, which is suitable for the situation. Similar uses of tone and rhythm help add to the effect of the poem, and help emphasize the meaning.

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