Heart of Tyche

Ed Slopek
Heart of Tyche
Third Floor Stairwell


        The sun’s rays struck us straight along the nose.
For now the mountain had, by us, been turned
so that we went direct towards the west.
	But then I felt my forehead weighted down
by splendor far more bright than first there’d been.
It dazed me, wondering at these untold things.
	And so, towards the peak of my two brows
I raised my hands and shaped myself a shield
to pare these too great visibles away.
	Compare: from water or reflective glass 
a ray of light leaps back as opposite,
rising exactly in the same degree.
	(as tests and theory demonstrate) against
a plumb-stone line as when it first descends,
equal as measured from the vertical.
	It seemed that I was struck by some such light
that broke, reflected back, ahead of me,
causing my eyes, in flight, to speed away.
	‘My gentle father, what is this?’ I said.
‘I can’t protect my eyes from it enough.
It moves, it seems, towards us all the time.’’
	‘Don’t marvel,’ he replied to me, ‘if still
the family of the heavens yet bedazzle you.
This comes as messenger, to bid us climb.’

			Dante, Canto 15, Purgatorio