The works in this site were translated from the Hebrew by
Moshe Ganan, the owner of this site.
This page is dedicated to the memory of the Hebrew poet
Pinchas Sadeh (1929-1994) the famous Poet of Israel,
started out as a painter, (at least that is
what he wanted to be as a young man). At 17 he wished to
join Bezalel, the Jerusalem School of Arts. Ardon, the
director of the school was ready to accept him as his
pupil, but Sadeh had not a penny for his soul. Ardon was
ready to accept him as a non-paying student but had to
explain to Sadeh that at any rate students have to buy the
canvas, the paint, all of which cost, of course, money,
which Sadeh didn't have; so Sadeh had to decide to choose
literature which one can do with a piece of paper and a
At any rate, hence Sadeh's predilection for painters and
pictures in his poetry.
The Vision of Francesco Goya
Do not turn your head away,
There against us on the hill's crest
The castle of our dreams, my dearest,
Stands, all wrapped in misty grey.
We hover, dearest love, on heights
Since times beyond human memory
Betwixt this grievous earth's misery
and the yellow evening-sky.
Come please, do embrace me, closer.
Would we could just reach the crest,
We'd find there ease and rest
to be redeemed, little sister.
But the hunters, my only sweetheart
on the mountain there below
-O, ready to kill is their arrow-
level their weapons to my heart.
This famous painting by Goya may have been the one that
inspired Sadeh to write his poem.
That poem stands as a kind of motto at the head of an essay
Sadeh published in MOLAD, January - February 1970, (Volume
3, No 223) about the painters Goya, Nolde and Cezanne.
Emil Nolde, or:I have dreamt that the Earth is my Beloved.
Sometimes (thus Emil Nolde wrote in his autobiography in the chapter dealing with the days of his youth) I would wander about alone in the meadows, in the wake of my thoughts and vague sensations. I would lie among the high ears of corn, invisible, my back towards the earth, my eyes closed, with widespread arms, thinking, so did lie your Redeemer, after he had been taken down by the women and men from the cross... and verily I dreamed that the whole earth, the great, oval, wonderful earth is my sweetheart".
Only these words, words of piety and devotion suit the
situation of mankind in the cosmos, a situation which in
itself is religious, those words and not the vanities of
the times, not the noise of the marketplaces, not the
desperate foolishness of critics and others like them
justify the existence of the artist, his way, his struggle,
his achievements and finally his death, because in them
come to full expression his cosmic sensibility, his insight
that the earth to be his grave is his sweetheart, that the
clouds in the sky are his comerades, ("I looked up at the
heavens, at the clouds in the sky, vast and unfathomable,
and I felt they are my friends" - writes Nolde) that his
fate and destiny are with the flux of the water, with the
ever changing flowers, with the boulders and the stones.
And this cosmic sensation is also the bridge of the genuine
artist not only over space but also over time, since he
perceives himself at that moment near and alike to the man
whom he calls his "Redeemer", the man who lived nineteen
hundred years ago before him in a strange and faraway land
in Asia. Emil Nolde was born in 1867 to a family of
peasants. [Sadeh goes on and describes Nolde's life and
work] [In the second part of his article Sadeh writes
about another great painter, Cezanne].
Paul Cezanne, or: what does it mean to be a saint?
Paul Cezanne was a saint. What does the mean? A few days
ago a letter reached me from a youth in Haifa, and among
other things it says: in the Book of Discussions Through
the Night the question is put to you whether you feel to
have done well having finished a genuine piece of work.
And that is your answer: "Yes, but after a while the
feeling disappears, since here is no redemption in action".
Having read your answer I shuddered, and wanted to cry
havoc - Son of Man! If all our poems and suffering and
pain, if our will and love and pity and thoughts, if all
these, all these have no effect whatsoever, and make no
difference either to us or before God, what is left then,
and what is the purpose to do certain things and to prefer
a certain way of life to another one"?
My answer to his question is that although it is true that
it is not worthwhile "to do certain things", yet their not
being worthwhile is the justification to do them. Rabbi
Dov Be'er of Mezeritsh heard once a voice announcing to him
that he lost his inheritance to the world to come. And the
Rabbi answered the voice: "Since my share is lost, and
there will be no payment for my toil, I can hence work for
God - at long last - not for wages".
All my life I have felt, and the laws of ethics in me have
also told me so, that the good works of the spirit, and the
works of evil are those whose purpose is the material and
the utilitarian, and while we do not know concerning the
former how God judges them, yet the ultimate judgment lies
nevertheless in his hands. In "A la Recherche du Temps
Perdue" Proust says (I quote from memory), that presumably
the source of our highest values is not this but some other
world, the one perhaps from which we ourselves originate,
and whence we brought with us here the dim memory of the
values reigning there, since, after all, in this valley of
doom, dominated by materialism and stupidity, deception and
flattery, what will justify and bring about the existence
of the spiritual, the sublime, the genuine and the
worthwhile. In these words of Proust I find the
answer, in addition to the former answers and as a
complement to them, to the question about the meaning of
sainthood, which is, as a matter of fact, the question
about the meaning of our existence in general. And the
answer is, that the saint is he who is most faithful to
these values that have no roots neither fruit in this our
world, in the way of fulfillment of the Commandments, that
has no earthly reward, or, in the words of Jesus, who said
that his kingdom "is not in this world".
Paul Cezanne gave his whole life to the arts. Sometimes he
worked on a painting for months, even for years. In his
painting "Les Grandes Baigneuses" he invested eight years
of work, and drawings he made show that this picture
occupied his mind for thirty years. His friends saw him
sitting before his easel hours on end contemplating and
reflecting and trying to understand the meaning of things.
Once a year he offered a work to the yearly exhibition,
only to be again and again rejected. He was considered a
miserable failure, squandering his life on queer,
eccentric, grotesque and absurdly ludicrous experiments. He
was put on the cross for sixty-seven years of his life, yet
his hands remained free to paint. And so, in an irate,
demure spirit, far away from the noise of the markets and
the buzz of their lies, he went on with his work year after
He was not accepted. And that means that those who did not
understand him could not comprehend even that they did not
understand him. Such is the nature of
Another picture Sadeh was inspired by in writing the
following poem - but also his book based on the story of
Abimelech in the Bible - was Albrecht Duerer's
Death rides a horse in the skies.
With ease and splendor it rides in the azure sky, in
Death rides a horse in the skies and its face is a
Her eyes are of amber, her feet are white like the
She is girt by her sword, a sword wrought of the Sun, a
For the four quarters of the earth.
A sword for Damascus, for Rabbath Ammon, for Jerusalem,
A sword for the artless and the wise, the borrower and the
lender, the lover,
For the one who has not as yet slept with a woman.
Death rides a horse in the skies.
On earth sits the poet and writes her face on the
In the woods the apes laugh, flowers bloom as the tongues
The grass grow, dogs bark, empires fall, prophets
Dream of gods, women are foresaken and beloved.
And many buy and sell their houses,
And one may think they live, but they are dead.
This world will have no resurrection.
Death rides his horse in the azure skies, in slience.
Its face is a maiden's, her feet are white as lilies.
Her eyes are the hue of amber, and she smiles.
Before her feet the Dragon lies, the Plague, the blood and
the cup of ire.
Before her feet the Mourning and the Fear and endless
But her feet are white as the lily and her face is of a
Above the woods, the flowers, the grass, above the
infinite, vast sea of life,
Above the brooks of Damascus and Amman, above the hills of
Neapolis and Jerusalem
Death rides his horse in the skies.
Please keep checking back, as we will be adding many more
wonderful things to this page.
PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES WHEN YOU ARE THROUGH AND COME
BACK HERE AND SIGN MY GUESTBOOK!
Sign my guest book
View my Guestbook
You are listening to "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven.
You are visitor number to
This site maintained by Midnite Angel - "Gabriella"
This page hosted
Get your own Free Home