The HyperTexts


by Helen Bar-Lev


As you lie in the surgery theatre
and anxiety zigzags through me
like lightning,
I see two angels standing
near your head and chest;
funny, they are more like genies,
these two male-angels facing each other,
muscular arms crossed,
lips forming frowns of determination;
thick white feathers are their wings

Nothing, nothing, can come
between them and you,
then towards the end,
their palms spread open,
above your heart, your chest,
and they ascend

Do they take you with them?
I choke, not knowing,
hope tells me you are well
fear begets doubt

The door opens,
the surgeon steps out,

7.2007 Helen Bar-Lev

Helen Bar-Lev's Letter to THT Editor Mike Burch:

Just home Mike; the details are as follows: 7 hrs. under anesthetic, 5 1/4 hours surgery, great success ... John had 10 tubes protruding out of his body—today 6 remain—slept most of today but was able to get up and walk around and is doing exercises for his lungs—anyhow, he will be well, and quickly.

But what I must tell you is this:  On the way to the hospital on Friday, a nervous wreck, I "saw" 2 angels standing on either side of John, by his head and chest.  Now, don't laugh, but these were very muscular angels, almost like genies, arms folded very determinedly in front of them, very serious frown on faces, BIG WHITE feathery wings in the back (my usual angels don't have wings) and I knew that NOTHING was going to pass between them and John. Then, towards the end of the surgery, I saw them put their palms just above his chest, on either side, at the level of the heart, and then I saw them depart. I panicked a bit because I wasn't sure if they left alone or took him with them. But I was sure he was here. And indeed, he has been protected and then some! Today, after I left, with great trepidation, because he is really completely helpless (but his son Alon is with him), going home by bus, I saw those 2 angels again, standing facing him, one on either side of the chair, facing him, arms folded—and I knew he would be all right.

Much love Mike, and thank you for your prayers!

Helen Bar-Lev, Artist, Poet
Voices Israel Anthology

Mike Burch's Comments:

When I started THT's Mysterious Ways page, it never occurred to me that THT would be involved in creating miracles, not just reporting them. But when I began to pray prayers of compassion for others at the not-so-tender age of 46, suddenly mysterious things did begin to happen, sometimes, and especially when other poets and artists were involved. The blessing described above occurred when I was praying with and for Helen Bar-Lev and Johnmichael Simon, both THT poets. Johnmichael was about to undergo major surgery and Helen had asked me to pray for specific things to go well with the surgery. I promised that I would, but I added that I always pray for miracles (on the principle that it never hurts to ask).

What makes this all the more mysterious is the fact that I have sitting in front of my desk a very similar photo that was taken on March 9, 2004. At that time I had been praying for a poet we believed to be on his deathbed. For some reason I began praying for him to see "the Glory of the Lord," and I'm still not sure why those particular words came to me. In any case, something wonderful happened, which changed the lives of at least five people: myself, three poets and the artist/photographer who caught something extraordinary on film. In my framed "Great White Light" photo, two male poets are bending like human angels over the ailing poet. Seeming to come, not from behind or above them, but from within the circle formed by their bodies, is a pure white incandescent light. In the upper left- and right-hand corners of the photo are two golden objects which (I like to think) are the edges of the gates of heaven flung wide open. The photographer later told me that the room was dim, with only a single small wall light, and that the flash didn't seem to go off, but "fizzled." Imagine her surprise when the picture came out perfect, with the three men looking for all the world like angels. And two were indeed angels of mercy, for they had come to pay their respects that night. The woman who took the photo was an angel of mercy who had been watching over the bedridden poet when his family would not. At the time he could barely lift his hand to sign a Valentine's card, much less write a poem. One of the poets and the artist/photographer later married, and make a smashingly lovely couple. The other poet told me just a few nights ago that he keeps his "Great White Light" picture hanging by his fireplace. The poet we were praying for recovered, was able to leave the hospital, and resumed writing poetry. Of course such things are matters of faith, but even skeptics like Mark Twain have reported prophetic visions and moments of clairvoyance. It seems to me that we can touch each other in ways that go beyond the physical laws that govern the universe, and even if I'm mistaken, it never hurts to be compassionate, to encourage, and to be encouraged. [I haven't been able to get permission to publish the Great White Light photograph because the distinguished poet was in his bedclothes and doesn't prefer to be paraded around the Internet in such attire. But the poets and artist/photographer would back me up in court, I expect.]

I have a third "mysterious ways" work of art, which is personal in nature, and seems to correspond to a personal vision. It's a photograph snapped by the Russian poet/photographer Vera Zubarev (aka V. Ulea) while she was vacationing in Rome. Vera said that she "knew" the photo was for me, and when I saw it, I agreed. I had recently adopted the Archangel Michael as my person hero, after reading how he's renowned for offering all men mercy on their deathbeds, and for always being the advocate of man through all his many millennia of suffering, and for being "Wonderful and Glorious" in a warm-hearted way, without arrogance (although I understand he can be a bit vain about his wonderful wings). Before I "retired" to my current position as poet-editor, playing pool was my pastime and obsession, and in Vera's photo the Roman Angel looks he's readying a pool cue to "shoot at the stars," which is how I like to think of myself. It's mysterious indeed to look around my office and see beautiful works of art that seem to be the direct result of prayer. If we put religious dogma aside and touch the heart of Divine Love by uniting in compassionate prayers with and for each other, we may yet make the world a better place. Michael R. Burch

The Cueist
Photograph by Vera Zubarev

The HyperTexts