Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Zen of Bouncing Back OR Rubber Ball, (Another) Metaphor for Life

Years ago, I asked someone (as one does) what life is all about. Yes, well…silly question, I know. I received what I thought was, in turn, a silly answer, something about a rubber ball. Now, though, I’m not so sure and suspect it was too profound for my little poem to do it justice.

‘Being your own person rather than sheep often means developing a persona akin to a rubber ball,’ he said. ‘Take me, for example. All the rubbish people throw at me just bounces off.’ I was only twelve years-old at the time but I never forgot those words. They would serve me well in later years.

When I told my mother about our conversation she just said, “He’s a very nice man. A little eccentric perhaps, but there is always more to eccentric people than meets the eye, and they are always worth listening to. Now, go and do your homework…’ She was a very nice person, my mother.

Whatever,  know one thing for sure. There’s no rubber ball can show me anything new about ups and downs and bouncing back, not to mention being lost (and found) every so often...


Sometimes I regret my lost youth
but for its teaching me the truth
about my place in the world, neither
big nor small, like a rubber ball
bouncing up and down along ground
now smooth, now rougher…

It’s enough, in the end, to land safe
and sound, roll gently down a hill
till still as a star on a cruel wintry night
bringing to travellers a peace of mind
they never thought to find at all,
like children searching for a rubber ball
now lost, now found, like a fairytale
meant to lull us asleep, took us instead
to a world neither big nor small,
like a rubber ball bouncing up and down
along ground now smooth, now rough,
on a roll, safe and sound till done, bounce
all but gone

Sometimes, I wonder if life isn’t, after all,
but a tale at bedtime about a rubber ball

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

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