Guernica

I am again a small boy
following the tram-tracks out of town
past the terminus to where a farm-house sits
wallowing in the welcome sun.
In front, a small field
a shrine to generations of a family farm.

In the field a swirl of young children
playing games with wild abandon
their cries echoing from dry-stone walls
a barrier between their past and this play.

They are the children of Guernica.
They saw their parents die in the stricken streets
bombed by blackbirds of death
excreting barbarity on a quiet town
before day began.

I watch from the wall as they run.
They do not show me sorrow – they could be children anywhere.
They have merged their past with forgetfulness
only retrieved when night swallows day,
allows their dreams to walk, and scream.

Picasso saw them in his painter’s eye –
and their mothers in the shaken town
as they gazed upward,
shading their eyes from a white sun
the sun that shines here, and now,
on us.

Geoffrey Bould, April 2009

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