Monday, November 01, 2010

The Discovery of Heaven

To Harry Mulisch

Now that you're far, from the questions asked by man, I cannot help but wondering what that heaven looks like, whether there are similarities at all between the rows of houses and the canals underneath, whether you can hear the waters all the while wars take place elsewhere. I wonder if the land was finally born in you, if there's any lands! If I could wish for something today, is for you to tell me that heaven looks exactly like the earth, that there's no other life, that the bricks smell the same when they're punctured by the bayonets. Are you still writing? Is it allowed to write? Sometimes it seems to me as if the earth is a heaven turned upside down, we are hanging from above glued to a crutch looking out into the vastness of the universe, as if the earth is that void that we see down below when we reach for the Wadden sea and imagine that that's where the world ends. I wonder if heaven has names, if heaven has hatred, because otherwise, what would be then of the language of love? I wonder what they think of the churches, what they think of the dead, that are buried somewhere, like Our Lord, that could never rise to heaven, because there's just too much soil sheltering them from this absurd vertiginous freedom, too much water dividing the places and the faces. My gut feeling says that heaven is very different, and that I wish not to go, that there're no super powers, that there're no higher truths, that you're just waiting for us there, to tell us to come back, to ride on the next bus, to land on the Zuiderduintjes, to go fishing for a while, to end at the same place where blue and white become one. That is why you painted it like this, like an afternoon, somewhere, in an apartment block, in those ugly streets of Rotterdam.

No comments: