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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 


Peter Sirr
Gallery Press


The Ladder

Whenever I have to leave him
I keep looking back as I go,
stumbling like a deer with a wounded hoof
or some other helpless animal

and though my body has departed
my eyes will leap and reach for him
as a drowning man will cling
to a wisp of straw.

If I think of the distance between us
I gag and choke, like a man
who opens his mouth in the desert wind
and if someone says

Don't despair
it is possible to reach the sky
I say, Yes, it's true
and I know where the ladder is.

(Ibn Hazm, 10th century)