The Boy

The Boy :

A boy loses a ball. He is very upset. A ball doesn’t cost much, nor is it difficult to buy another ball. Why then is the boy so upset? Read the poem to see what the poet thinks has been lost, and what the boy has to learn from the experience of losing something.

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.


The word POETRY originates from a Greek word meaning TO MAKE. A poet is thus a maker and the poem something that is made or created. No single definition of poetry is possible but some characteristic features of poetry may be mentioned. Poetry has a musical quality with rhythm, pitch, metre and it may use figures of speech such as simile and metaphor. While quite a few poems in this selection are in traditional forms, the unit also includes modern poems that are free from formal restrictions.

The Boy :