Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

The Red Balloon

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

The Red Balloon

Article excerpt

(Albert Lamorisse, 1956)

Tribes of boys are jealous of the one

tethered to the red balloon. Adults

don't seem to understand him either.

See, the boy runs with his balloon

trailing behind him; even when he

opens his grip, the balloon obeys

and, as if it had legs, runs

alongside him. Can you see?

Even in the silences between them,

even when the boy is not there,

even when the boy cannot come

to play, the balloon - the boy's

secret, this one boy's one friend -

remains loyal, rising and falling

right along with the boy.

The balloon keeps returning,

around every corner, down every alleyway,

and as more of its fidelity is revealed,

the other boys try to destroy its élan,

but the balloon simply gathers more

balloons, and something common to this boy

appears fantastic to others: He gathers

the strings attached to the balloon

bouquet. He takes flight over the city,

until he's even more of a mystery

in the squinting eyes of the boys,

the boys looking into the sun,

which gleams like a future too bright

to look into. …

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