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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.

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