Dana Gioia

(24 December 1950 / Hawthorne, California)

The Burning Ladder - Poem by Dana Gioia

Jacob
never climbed the ladder
burning in his dream. Sleep
pressed him like a stone
in the dust,
and when
he should have risen
like a flame to join
that choir, he was sick
of travelling,
and closed
his eyes to the Seraphim
ascending, unconscious
of the impossible distances
between their steps,
missed
them mount the brilliant
ladder, slowly disappearing
into the scattered light
between the stars,
slept
through it all, a stone
upon a stone pillow,
shivering, Gravity
always greater than desire.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011



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