What is "The Ball Poem" by John Berryman talking about in a paragraph or so.Thank you in advance!!!

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sagesource eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Ball Poem" by John Berryman is talking about the irreversability of loss and the need to accept loss and move beyond it as one matures. Some actions simply cannot be taken back, no matter how much one wants to. For this particular boy, the loss of the ball has marked a realization that has brought part of his youth to a close:

....he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went.

The boy realizes that the ball was lost because of his actions:

He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions.

He is learning what loss truly means (the "epistemology of loss" -- epistemology being the study of how we know things), and that it is necessary to go on after loss, to "stand up." Eventually, he may mature into the more complex reality of the narrator of the poem, who has gone beyond acceptance of loss to an attempt to comprehend it,

....I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me...


Read the study guide:
John Berryman

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