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10th English NCERT: First Flight - Footprints without feet

The Ball Poem: 10th Class CBSE English ‘First Flight’ Ch 16

The Ball Poem Poem: 10th Class NCERT CBSE English ‘First Flight’ Chapter 16

Question: Why does the poet say, “I would not intrude on him”? Why doesn’t he offer him money to buy another ball?

Answer: The poet says “I will not intrude on him” because he wants the boy to learn the meaning of loss on his own. He does not offer him money to buy another ball because according to him, money or another ball is worthless. The boy was trying to understand his first responsibility as he had lost something, which could not be brought back.

Question: “… staring down / All his young days into the harbor where / His ball went…”
Do you think the boy has had the ball for a long time? Is it linked to the memories of days when he played with it?

Answer: Yes, it seems like the boy has had the ball for a long time. When it bounced into the water, all his memories of the days of childhood flashed in front of him. This led to a realization that those moments would not come back, just like the ball. He can buy new balls and can similarly create new moments, but those that are gone would not return.

The Ball Poem – Question: What does “in the world of possessions” mean?

Answer: Here, “in the world of possessions” means the world where everything and every action is made to possess something, whether it is the possession of land, property, money, or any other thing. The poet suggests that losing a ball, which is a very small thing, would make the boy understand what it is like to lose something that one possessed. This would make the boy realize that this is a world of possessions and where one can possess more things by buying them, one cannot buy what has been lost.

The Ball Poem – Question: Do you think the boy has lost anything earlier? Pick out the words that suggest the answer.

Answer: No, it seems that the boy had not lost anything earlier. The words that suggest so are ‘senses first responsibility in a world of possessions’.

The Ball Poem – Question: What does the poet say the boy is learning from the loss of the ball? Try to explain this in your own words.

Answer: The poet suggests that from the loss of the ball, the boy is learning how to stand up in a world of possessions where he will lose things, will buy some more to replace the ones lost, but would never be able to buy back the thing that he had lost. He is sensing his first responsibility as he has lost the ball. The poet says that money is something external and what he really wants the boy to understand is the meaning of loss. The boy is learning what it means to lose something. The poet says that knowing that every man has to stand up after such losses, the boy too will learn how to stand up and leave the losses behind as he would have understood the true meaning and nature of loss.


The poet is talking about a little boy who has lost his ball. He was playing with his ball. The ball skipped from his hand and went into the nearby water body. The poet says that this sight of the boy losing his favorite ball made him think about the boy and his reaction to this situation. He further says that the boy was helplessly looking into the water where his ball had gone. He was sad and was trembling with fear. He got so immersed in his sorrow that he kept standing near the harbour for a very long time and kept on looking for his ball. The poet says that he could console him that he may get new balls or he could also give him some money to buy another ball. But he stops himself from doing so because he thinks that the money may bring a new ball but will not bring the memories and feelings attached to the lost ball. He further says that the time has come for the boy to learn his responsibilities. Here the poet wants to say that now the boy will learn the toughest lesson of life. The lesson of accepting the harsh realities of life that one day we will lose our loved ones and our loved things.

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