Saturday Poem: Picasso Painting Guernica

Detail: Guernica by Picasso

She clawed through the rubble of her world
head covered a scrupulous maid searching for gems
a necklace mislaid by her mistress on the marble floor
of a ballroom set against the battered sky
She crawled with her babe limp as a doll in floral crayon
fleeing hell straight into the light of her ancestors

She crawled through arches suspended
  wrapped her babe in the shawl she had worn
to market no more than a scar on the face of a hill
  hair ribbons fluttering girders blood silk
  oozing the wounded sky shot with holes
  foxes scuttling crackling wires
  patches of honey colored coats shivering
  down mixed with bits of calico and flesh

  She crawled a chessboard a cage of gold
  scaffolding she crawled with her face oblique
  placed her babe before the altar of the Art of War
  She picked through the remnants of the Basque
  countryside a cockeyed dress-maker
  piecing a pattern gone awry
  Through the rubble she crawled
  with one shoe the other foot gone
a trail sticky and warm

  She crept into the belly of a fallen horse
  drawing its life into her mouth
  covering her doll with kisses
  she knelt entreating her god
  an immense crucifix swathed
  in telegraph wire that spun
  like a bottle in the center of a circle

She made a sign over her breast
and stuffed her mouth with biscuits

Body of Christ Body of Christ
Body of Christ Body of Christ

Horses wept jewels the size of fists
swept by scholars with a mind
to twist and level facets
of each plane to be raffled
when the bombing ceased

Before the Art of War, she laid her babe
To be raffled with the heart of the artist
bulldozed crucified then razed again
to house an outstretched arm
hoof and thigh reins that ran scarlet
streaming the horse ’s knotted mane
dripping blood from the wounds of Christ
dripping blood from the wounds of Spain

Black and white blood dripping

The ghost of Sophia pranced in her rag dress
through walls of glass—the unspeakable

The hairs on his forearms bristled the sense
of her pressing in like a dosed handkerchief
He picked up a stick and covered fresh sheets
Dripping the hardened horn
Dripping the indignant ring
Slaughter flower dead child hoof capacious eye
lighting the halls of the Spanish pavilion
He bore down on the stick to canvas spent

and on the Seventh day he wept

–by Patti Smith at