Henk van Heelu


Cleaning the rubbish
around Jacob's house
the old ladder 
was broken in pieces
and cut to measure.

The wooden parts
were welded together
to sturdy blocks.

Handmade holes
preserved the fit
of holy stairs
that once served
the grapes of wrath
to be removed from
the bricken walls of
the fortress of roses.

(Wonder when can
the dead get
rosy rest as yet

Formed the holes
into a perceptive door
and worked my goal
the lonely way.

Hammered my heart
through heavens and hells
releasing pains with
whales and whangs
soothing the uproar
of my soul.

Became a rebel
just transformed
into a form
as yet unknown
as yet unwhole
but still familiar
to everyman's
unshaded eye.

Looked through
the hole again
and a cedar trunk
was found to fit
the purpose of
my inner needs.

Friday again
my day of the fish
D-day of the soul
of lifelong listening
to the right and to the wrong
to the good and to the bad
to overcome.

Saw Jacob wrestling
with an angel
under the shesik tree.

The one was light
the other dark
both looked alike.

Could not tell
who was the angel
black or white
who was the man
I came to see?

Sensed the bitter
and sweet fruits
loved by doves and
other birds of melancholy
as long as the fight went on.

It became silent
in the fields
around Tivon.

It became night
and the lights
fell foul.

Burning flowers rained
from the inner walls
of the living room of roses.

Tivon, I mirrored your name
unwise, the hebrew way
from right to left
and read.... Novice!

(Blessed by
my hill of the oaks
my hill of the gates
my hill of the tombs
my maternal earth!)

Your lefthanded dedicate
met his rightoeus lot
spellbound on the hillslope
darkest on his hotspot.

(Damned Shoshanna
why do you still
dominate the scene
haunt the offspring's
quest for life?)

I saw with the eyes
of simple faith
the sturdy oaks
stood for.

(The old celts
came a long way
with me!)

The one fought light
the other dark but
it stayed silent
on the slope of the oaks.

No donkey barked
no jackal howled
no dovetail stirred
no love-sign filled
the air
to order the rocks
to weather down.

It looked a lunar world
deserted like the Negeb.

Again I turned a word
and saw a haunted new Begin
close by, humane, insane
in the very name
that seemed the end
of everything.

How to cope with
such a lunacy of
love and hatred
of joy and sorrow
of heat and cold
of bitter and sweet?

what a treat!
Are you the answer
to all life?

Do I have to sit
and stay in your shade
hear the birds fighting
the bees for your fruits
of contradictory taste?

It beats the brain
of Jacob's main concern.

His garden is left
to the heat of the day
and to the theft of
the rosy nights.

The lemon and the fig
the pomegranate and the vine
wait and suffer.

Done the dedicated day
Hosanna becomes Shoshanna
a dear dope of wear and tear
of tie and dye and cry and life
of love and lone and why?

Jacob screamed!

Like Dante he dreamt
through the melancholic woods
of thousand sabbaths
his nagging way to light.

Two candles were lit
for the wrestling couple
embraced in full flight
but fighting still.

Down the terraced gardens
a pardon filled the night
backed by the rock valley walls
of Friday, mount of the jackal.

Once again around Jacob we gathered
looking up into the shaded sky
of piny trees grown so heavy that
they threatened his house.

"See the play of shades
against the lunysky" he said
and there and then I felt his
lonely heart almost breaking
to put an end to that quest
for he was tired and aching.

Inmate in love
still wrestling
would not give in
for there was written
that Jacob fought
as if to win the battle
against all odds.

He forgot to count
the blessings of that fight
the hidden treasure of the soul
to batter its way through time.

Heaven is stronger than earth
and the heart reasons
reason cannot follow.

Dreams that haunt 
the sleeper
hurt the brain for
it has no other gain
then holding the mirror
to the dreamer.

He forgot to look
kept telling stories
as if his life
was like an open book.

He was caught by words
that entered the mind
unsuspected as
slips of the tongue
as failures in between the
enchanted flow of thought.

They sirened into our ears
drugging the stay into
a dreamlike play
of words divine.

I recognized that man
the father and
the harnessed child in me
that wild shiver
at every touch of
dear life still to be.

I counted with him
the lonely lunches
in my Irish fields
urgently figfilling
my belly with
Jacob's cookies.

Cooking this up
I did not know
that they were
like scrolls of
secret script
talking the sweet
knowledge of
the  heart.

It kept repeating
in my mind all the
moments of apparent
unreason to tell me
"how the cooky crumbled."

God knows what it
meant that I bought
at Tivon's stores
a bagful of the
same kind!

They were different
after all so
I keep searching
for love's light.

              Israel, 29-7-1984

Editor's note: "Tivon" spelled backwards 
is a homophone 
of the Dutch word "noviet" (novice).

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