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Tuesday, December 08, 2009


by George Held

The bombing [of Basque Guernica on 26.4.37] inspired the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso to make his famous painting Guernica, which was first shown at the Paris World's Fair in 1937. When the painting was finally shown in Spain in 1981—six years after the death of Spain's Fascist dictator, Generalissimo Francisco Franco—it had to be displayed behind bulletproof glass.

Even bulletproof glass
Wouldn’t protect a painting
From today’s terrorists:

They’d blow up the whole gallery,
The whole museum
The whole block.

How innocent seem those Stukas
Flying low over Basque country
To lay their eggs

In civilian nests.
Those were the days, when
Big-time fascists like Franco

Hitler and Mussolini
Had armies and air forces
At their command

And quickly cowed their people,
And the great German Army
Quickly conquered Poland

And the other helpless lands
Until Hitler made his big
Russian mistake.

Today terrorists are common
Folk, inhabit people’s minds
Almost everywhere—

That’s the point of terrorism—
They have no native land,
The world is their target;

We are their targets.
Look at the carnage in Guernica;
Ask, can we end up like that?

George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.