Quadratura, Sant’Ignazio, Rome
Inside the church, I obeyed the guide’s injunction
not to raise my eyes until he said. Now looking
upwards I see, built four-square above the nave,
further storeys open to the skies, whose soft-lit columns
stretch towards the infinite. In this vast space Christ
floats above mundane architecture, drawing Ignatius
towards a paradise beyond the clouds. At my side
the guide is whispering how a strict geometry
of eyelines and a graticule of threads helped Pozzo
construct this illusion of the divine. I cannot remain,
unmoved by rapture: each step to the periphery reveals
the columns curling over me like pallid fingers
of a corpse, and the unboundedness of space
constrained by paint. I admire the determination
of this artifice, then slip quietly into the piazza’s blaze.
Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England. He is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US and Hong Kong.
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