Peter Clarke (1929 - )

mixed media
50 x 35cm

(In 1936 Spain became engulfed in a bloody civil war. One of the earliest casualties
of the struggle was the Basque town Guernica. The bombing of the town
was the source of inspiration for the visual interpretation of the event in the
form of the painting by the 20th century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.)

Within the enclosure of a theatre like space / an enactment of the horrors of war takes place.
We, spectator-participants, see / the interplay / of contorted, torn, fragmented forms. /
On the night a person / reaching upward screams / while from a blocklike house /
threatening flames rise toothlike to the sky.
From a window a mother, all anxiety, / reaches out with lamp in hand / while inside behind her /
innocent little children hide.
Below, a panic-stricken woman, barebreasted,
goes barefoot swifty, hesitantly, / across the stage towards the centre /
where a frightened horse rears / & twists,
becoming one with a dismembered warrior, / with a flower & broken weapon
still clutched in hand. / Confused, a tiny bird tries / to flee the terrible scene.
Shrieking, she curses, implores, "Why? Why?"
Above the drama playing out / the sun, an electric eye, glows
over the Guernica tragedy,
the question unanswered,
still ignored.

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.