The ‘The Ball Poem’ short and long summary in English and Hindi is available here with Hindi meanings ad key points. . The text of the poem is also given. The summary will help in revising the poem ‘The Ball Poem’.
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The Ball Poem – Summary and Meanings
‘The Ball Poem’ Text
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.
Word – Meanings
Merrily—happily, खुशी – खुशी ओर प्रसन्नता से | ‘O there are other balls’ — the words suggest that the loss should not worry as it can be compensated like buying new balls | Ultimate—final, अंतिम एवं आखिरी, चरम | Shaking—shocking, | Bouncing—jumping, | Grief—sorrow, | Rigid—stiff and firm like a statue, | Harbour—a place where ships load and unload goods, | Tremble—to shiver, | Dime—a coin equal to 10 cent, | Intrude on — here, to enter a situation where one is not welcome | Possession—to have to possess or own, | Worthless—useless, | Sense—to come to know, | External—outer, | Epistemology—the science of knowledge (The Greek word ‘episteme’ means ‘knowledge’), | Epistemology of loss—understanding the nature of loss, | Desperate—hopeless, | Behind— at the back of.
This poem is about a boy who loses a ball in the water. He is very upset. Though the ball does not cost too much, it gives a big shock to him. He keeps staring at the place where his ball has gone. The poet sees all this, but he doesn’t interfere with the boy’s ruminations. The poet thinks that the loss of the ball will teach the boy a lesson of accepting the loss with tolerance and pleasure. Everyone has to lose something or the other in this world, still they are to survive and fulfil their obligations. This loss makes the boy learn that gains and losses are part and parcel of life. One should accept them as a common matter.
A Short Summary
One day a boy was playing with his ball near the harbour. He was very happy as the ball was bouncing over the street. But suddenly his ball bounced and fell in to the water of the sea and was lost forever. The boy feels very sad as he knows that the loss was permanent. The poet says that the boy can be given another ball but balls are always lost. Hence, the poet is not willing to spend money for that. The boy also now knows that he himself is responsible for the loss. But he is learning this truth also that loss is a part of our life and loss cannot stop the course of our life. Therefore, we should forget the loss and face all the situations bravely.
The Boy Loses His Ball: The poem is about a young boy who loses his ball. Usually, losing a ball should not be a big issue. Young boys usually lose their toys and balls quite often. The ball is seen ‘merrily’ bouncing down the street. And ultimately the ball falls down into the water and lost forever. The boy stood there sadly watching the ball go. But he was helpless. Nor could he do anything to get the ball back. The ball here symbolises the innocent childhood of the boy which has slipped away and he wants it back.
Buying New Balls is No Solution: It is of no use to remind him that it was not a big loss. He can get more balls and continue his game. But for the boy the loss of the ball is a great loss. There may be other balls and perhaps he can hope to get any one of them. However, the ball that he has lost can’t be retrieved. It has fallen into the deep water of the harbour. The boy is inconsolable. He loses hope in himself and becomes depressed and hopeless. He stands still, trembling and looking at the point where his ball has gone down into the harbour. Here, the lost ball stands for the lost childhood and the harbour stands for the vastness of the life. It will not serve any purpose to remind him that the ball costs just a dime and is worth nothing.
Recovering from the Loss: But there comes a change in his mood and thinking. He realises that in this world the loss is the part of the game. He must take such losses in life in his stride. Achievements will follow losses in life. And a thing that is lost once can’t be retrieved or brought back. Money can’t buy the lost childhood, the lost dreams and the lost feelings back. Money is external to such losses.
Standing Up is the Solution: The poet gives a message of hope and encouragement. Ultimately, he comes out of his depression and hopelessness. He has to learn how he should stand up to bear the loss. The theme of the poem is that life is precious and should not be wasted. Life has to be lived. And life can be lived purposefully and fruitfully only when we stand up and come out of depression.