CBSE Class 10 English First Flight The Ball Poem Summary and Notes

The second poem in Chapter 3 of CBSE Class 10 English First Flight book is The Ball Poem. It is written by John Berryman. Here, students will find a detailed explanation of The Ball Poem, along with a summary. The explanation will work as short English notes to help understand the poem in a better way. Students can refer to the summary anytime, whenever they want to recall the meaning of the poem. Going through the explanation and summary of the poem will also help in board exam preparation.

Students can also go through CBSE Essays to improve their writing section of the English paper.

CBSE Class 10 English First Flight The Ball Poem Summary

In this poem – The Ball, a boy loses a ball. The ball was not a costly one, and he could purchase another ball. But the boy did not buy a new ball. He is in deep sorrow and grief. The poet tries to understand what the boy has lost and the experience the boy has learned by losing a ball.

CBSE Class 10 English First Flight The Ball Poem Summary Explanation Notes

Students can have a look at The Ball Poem below. There is also a detailed explanation of the poem for students’ easy understanding.

The Ball Poem Explanation Notes

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 poem starts with the poet’s question, which he asks himself. He talks about a boy who has lost his ball and asks what he will do after losing it. The boy was very happy and cheerful when the ball was with him. The poet further says that the boy must have lost his ball while playing with it by throwing it up and down. At that moment, the ball must have slipped from the boy’s hand and into the street. From there, it fell into the nearby river and went into the water.

The poet says that there is no use in saying that the boy will get another ball. The boy is very sad and is in deep sorrow. He stands in a fixed position, shaking and looking into something continuously. The boy feels that all his young days and childhood memories are gone down in the harbour with the ball. The boy cannot be told to buy another ball as it would not be worth it. The new ball cannot bring childhood memories and a sense of belonging to the boy. The poet further says that for the first time, the boy has felt a sense of responsibility. He should take care of his things so that they do not get lost in the future. Here, the ball symbolises the happy moments and innocent days of childhood. The ball loss is compared with man’s innocent nature. Once we lose our innocence, we can’t get it back.

The poet says that the world is full of materialistic things. People will be losing something similar to the ball all the time. They get attached to materialistic things, but these things will not stay forever. The boy has to learn to live without them. The poet further says that no one can buy things back. Money is an external thing. Everything can’t be bought with money. The boy is learning from his experience of losing the ball and trying to get out of that sorrow. He is trying to understand the real truth of life by accepting the miseries of life and standing up again. Early or later, everyone learns the harsh truth that suffering is an inevitable part of life and that we need to forget the pain and move ahead. Therefore, we should learn to accept and let go.

We hope students must have found this information on “CBSE Class 10 English First Flight The Ball Poem Summary and Explanation” useful for their exam preparation. They can also get essays on familiar topics, such as Essay on Women Empowerment, Essay on Republic Day, etc., and learn to write good essays in the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions on CBSE Class 10 English The Ball Poem


Who is the poet of ‘The Ball Poem’?

The poet of ‘The Ball Poem’ is John Berryman.


What does innocence symbolise?

The notion of innocence refers to children’s simplicity, their lack of knowledge, and their purity not yet spoiled by mundane affairs.


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