This juggler poem is about a juggler who entertains people by juggling balls. The poet describes how the balls represent the challenges and difficulties in life, and the juggler’s skill in keeping them in the air symbolizes overcoming those challenges.
The poem suggests that life is not always easy and that resilience is important. The juggler’s performance captivates the audience, but eventually, the balls come down, and he returns to ordinary things like a broom, a plate, and a table.
A ball will bounce; but less and less. It’s not
A light-hearted thing, resents its own resilience.
Falling is what it loves, and the earth falls
So in our hearts from brilliance,
Settles and is forgot.
It takes a sky-blue juggler with five red balls
To shake our gravity up. Whee, in the air
The balls roll around, wheel on his wheeling hands,
Learning the ways of lightness, alter to spheres
Grazing his finger ends,
Cling to their courses there,
Swinging a small heaven about his ears.
But a heaven is easier made of nothing at all
Than the earth regained, and still and sole within
The spin of worlds, with a gesture sure and noble
He reels that heaven in,
Landing it ball by ball,
And trades it all for a broom, a plate, a table.
Oh, on his toe the table is turning, the broom’s
Balancing up on his nose, and the plate whirls
On the tip of the broom! Damn, what a show, we cry:
The boys stamp, and the girls
Shriek, and the drum booms
And all come down, and he bows and says good-bye.
If the juggler is tired now, if the broom stands
In the dust again, if the table starts to drop
Through the daily dark again, and though the plate
Lies flat on the table top,
For him we batter our hands
Who has won for once over the world’s weight.
The juggler poem talks about a bouncing ball, but as it bounces, it seems less happy about it. The ball doesn’t like being so resilient (bouncing back easily). It prefers falling, and as it falls,
It settles in our hearts and is soon forgotten. The poet compares this to how things in life can lose their brightness and importance.
Then, the poet introduces a juggler with colorful balls who can shake up our sense of gravity. The juggler throws the balls in the air, and they roll around, seemingly defying gravity.
The poet describes the juggler as creating a small heaven with his skillful tricks. However, the poet suggests that creating heaven (happiness or perfection) is easier with nothing at all.
The poem contrasts the excitement of the juggler’s performance with the challenges of everyday life, where the juggler must eventually bring everything back down to earth.
Despite the impressive show, the juggler ends up trading his heavenly performance for ordinary things like a broom, a plate, and a table.
In the end, the juggler poem expresses admiration for the juggler, who, despite the challenges of life, manages to momentarily overcome the weight of the world and receive applause from the audience.
Let’s break it down into pieces and understand more.
Bouncing Ball Metaphor
The bouncing ball is a metaphor for life’s challenges. The poet suggests that life can be tough, but the ball (representing difficulties) keeps bouncing, showing resilience.
Seriousness of Resilience
The poem mentions that the ball resents its resilience, indicating that facing challenges is not always enjoyable or lighthearted.
Love for Falling
The ball loves falling, suggesting that there might be an inclination towards embracing difficulties rather than resisting them.
Gravity and Brilliance
The reference to gravity and brilliance in our hearts implies that challenges and difficulties settle within us, overshadowing the initial brilliance.
The juggler with five red balls represents someone who can defy gravity and entertain people. The performance involves the skillful handling of challenges (balls) in the air.
The balls, through their movement, learn the ways of lightness, symbolizing the idea that challenges can be navigated with skill and grace.
Creation of Heaven
The juggler creates a small heaven in the air, suggesting that overcoming challenges can bring a sense of accomplishment and joy.
Despite the heavenly performance, the juggler eventually returns to the ordinary aspects of life, trading the balls for simple objects like a broom, a plate, and a table.
Entertainment and Applause
The audience reacts enthusiastically to the juggler’s performance, expressing joy and excitement through stamping, shrieking, and drumming.
The poem ends with the idea that the juggler, by successfully entertaining and captivating the audience, has won over the weight of the world, at least for a moment.
In essence, the poem explores the theme of life’s challenges, resilience, and the temporary escape from everyday struggles through entertainment.
It emphasizes the contrast between the extraordinary performance and the return to ordinary life, highlighting the cyclical nature of facing challenges and finding moments of triumph.