The Ball

“The Ball” by Félix Vallotton, 1899.

The Ball

On summer afternoons the park shimmers
where trees cast silent shadow symphonies
across the grass and gravel. Her own shadow
races ahead to grasp the ball before
she can scoop it up, already sun-warm,
in her hot hands. Her white pinafore flaps
behind like angel wings. Her hair streams
from beneath her straw hat. The ball retrieved,
she retreats to solitary shadow play.
It would be nice to have someone to throw
the ball with, who could take her turn running
to fetch the naughty thing when it goes astray.
Far across the wide lawn Mother and Auntie
are too busy. They walk slowly, talking
of grown up stuff, their white and blue dresses
shine in the sun’s glare, looking for all the world

like a painting of the Visitation.

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