See it, the beautiful ball
Poised in the toyshop window,
Rounder than sun or moon.
Is it red? is it blue? is it violet?
It is everything we desire,
And it does not exist at all.
Non-existent and beautiful? Quite.
In the rounding leap of our hands,
In the longing hush of air,
We know what that ball could be,
How its blues and reds could spin
To a headier violet.
Beautiful in the mind,
Like a word we are waiting to hear,
That ball is construed, but lives
Only in flash of flight,
From the instant of release
To the catch in another’s hand.
And the toy withheld is a token
Of all who refrain from play–
The shopkeepers, the collectors
Like Queen Victoria,
in whose adorable doll’s house
Nothing was ever broken.
Published in August, 1957