[Note:  the first of these two poems also appears in The Deronda Review, vol. VII, no. 2, in the section dedicated to Yoram Raanan.  We are pleased to share the sequence here in its entirety. --The Editors]


Shira Twersky-Cassel  

"The saintly lover of God acts as the foundation of the cosmos. The whole world joins in his ascent motivated by his dynamic inner personality." Orot HaTorah, Rav Avraham Yitachak Ha'Cohen Kook referring to the Ba'al Shem Tov.


Ba'al Shem Tov 1700 1760

Beethoven 1770 1827

Mozart 1756 - 1791

The Divine Symphony

                            dedicated to the artist Yoram Raanan


When clouds lay bare a moonlit sky

like fireflies born of the unbroken beam of celestial light

divine sparks cast up the heart

to repair the fragmented world.


The Ba'al Shem Tov, sent to temporal time

to elevate the mundane, to open the portal to dormant wonders,

infused with the radiant word of God

the dark and the inarticulate.


Then men were born whose passion

to script the human soul brought forth

music of the spheres, the stars

the moon and the grandeur of the earth.


Then a man will be born to redeem with his music

each stroke of the human spirit

the sorrows, joys and suffering

that echo the Divine Symphony.  


"Art must redeem every single stroke embedded in the substrate of the human spirit." Orot HaTorah, Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook.

THE DIVINE SYMPHONY; TO BEETHOVEN:  Sea Journeys of Consciousness.


Like the prophets, you did not know

the cause of your music


the utterance of your emotions given voice and form,

thrust into our hearts and offering up

the beauty of your mind.


And when your listening ear betrayed you

affliction invoked a greater passion.


You could not know that as a schoolgirl

I would love you through a young student's

winsome whistling of the Eroica,


through the lilac laden Spring nights, I

a teenager, legs slung across an armchair

immersed in your Pastoral and Joseph Conrad's sea journeys.


Forced to share our fate before the gates of Auschwitz,

the exalted Ninth dragged down to the inferno,

      - Jewish fiddlers in a death extravaganza,


     did you shout out from the captive earth like Akiva,

     "One more note and I will turn the world to ashes."


Now we can return your sounds to you

as we have been returned.


And I, after a lifetime of musical paths traversed

it is you, the mad, the dream-beset, who does endure,

who will accompany me into my old age.


 [Note:  the first of these two poems also appears in The Deronda Review, vol. VII, no. 2, in the section dedicated to Yoram Raanan.  --The Editors]

  Copyright Shira Twersky-Cassel