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Unread 03-16-2021, 05:31 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Kansas City,MO,USA. There is also Kansas City,KS but I don't live there.
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Default 1937

more determined
than a buzzard’s circling stillness,
the planes came; their winged shadows drawing crosses
on the rooftops of Guernica.

In the day’s first hour,
consciousness can’t grasp the world,
any more than the world can grasp consciousness,
as it wakes heavy-headed
from a long parachute jump
from dreaming.

As the day grows, it takes my place;
it pushes me aside; it throws me out of my nest -
The painting is ready.

As a polite young man
in a museum uniform would say - Mr. Picasso, Sir,
please wake up. Here’s Guernica.
Where should we hang her?”

Last edited by Sergio F Lima; 03-16-2021 at 07:31 PM.
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Unread 03-22-2021, 04:53 AM
Andrew Mandelbaum's Avatar
Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Portland Maine
Posts: 3,627

Hey Sergio.
Guernica is such a strong symbol to attach to a poem. The first use of civilian targeting of this type by the Luftwaffe. The use of Nazi machinery to give the Basque resistance over to Franco and maybe one of Picasso's best works with its elevation of the animal into the vision of the destruction of war.

But I don't get what you are doing with it here. The attack, if I remember wasn't early morning, was it? By dating it 1937 I see that you aren't speaking of its hanging in New York which might have made the piece about the dreamy distance of the art from the real conflict.

In any case, this keeps me outside the piece because the symbols are all very prominent but they are not arranged like language but more like shuffled flash cards. Maybe a few small changes might help me to see the connections. of the opening and ending to what I guess is the personal sandwiched in the middle.

I don't think the philosophical bit about consciousness and the world holds true for me so it sorta distacts me into arguing. I get it as a moment but not as a universal.

Some thoughts for any revsions you might consider.

I want to like this sort of poem so I don't think it would take much to make it work. Maybe drop some of that distance you keep in your work. Get close enough so the reader can see more of your own human markings on the page rather than the philospher mask. I don't mean that as an insult. Just an honest interest in seeing more of these symbols and places actually touching a body more than nostalgia for travel. I think what made this early entrance into politics for Picasso so potent and genuine was that what was at stake was a land he had some type of old and deep connection to. It was visceral not theoretical. I feel alot of bodied passion in your asides and notes. I think it would be cool to see it wash through your poetry in a new way.

Last edited by Andrew Mandelbaum; 03-22-2021 at 05:01 AM.
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Unread 03-22-2021, 09:17 PM
Gena Gruz Gena Gruz is offline
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Like it. It works.
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Unread 03-23-2021, 04:53 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Location: North Carolina
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Sergio, I know I came off like an ass in my last comment and for that I'm sorry, but this is another poem in which there is nothing to attach to the reader anywhere beyond his or her eyes. There is imagery but it doesn't say anything or add to the poem's impact. In S1 the metaphor of a buzzard circling for the planes drawing winged shadows on the roofs has none of the frisson that we should have from a metaphor. The metaphor adds nothing to the poem because it reads like an attempt at a startling image but it never leaves the poet's mind. I understand that may be difficult to weigh as a comment, but it's what I find in other of your poems. They read and feel like mind constructs that have had no impact from anything but the poet's delight in putting this here and that there. What makes the painting "Guernica" work, in the end, isn't that it is interesting and startling in design. It's the fear and pain in the eyes of the characters. This poem has none of that feeling and to me that is best summed up by the last stanza. Suddenly the curtain is pulled back and Wow! we are all Picasso. At least I think that is what's said, but we are, after all, in a world in which "consciousness can't grasp the world,/any more than the world can grasp consciousness" which says absolutely nothing.

I wanted to make what I said the other day more clear. I've read this poem as thoroughly as I can. It doesn't welcome deep reading because there is nothing below the surface that I've been able to attain. Of course, the problem may be in my reading or perhaps I have some blockage that won't allow me to connect emotionally to the poem. I'm not infallible.

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Unread 03-26-2021, 02:59 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Location: Kansas City,MO,USA. There is also Kansas City,KS but I don't live there.
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Hi Andrew;
So, Picasso was dreaming, his consciousness clouded by something we will never know. That may also have clouded the poem, but as opposed to Picasso it never wakes up. Perhaps it is still waiting to be jolted out of sleep by the kiss by Prince charming. Sorry it did not reach out to you. I thank you for your suggestions on how to edit; they are all good. But even the slightest change would only give birth to an entirely different piece, probably not much better than this one. Which does not mean I don't value your comments and do not appreciate the time you took to read and make suggestions. Much to the contrary - it is always a pleasure to hear from you.

Thank you again, and regards:

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Unread 03-26-2021, 03:01 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Location: Kansas City,MO,USA. There is also Kansas City,KS but I don't live there.
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Hi Gena:

Thank you for looking at this, and thank you for you kind words.

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Unread 03-26-2021, 03:18 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Location: Kansas City,MO,USA. There is also Kansas City,KS but I don't live there.
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No worries; I welcome any comment, not just the positive ones. After many years frequenting this forum, I still consider myself an apprentice. And I still make mistakes, such as posting something still raw, too soon, and not quite ready to receive a well-deserving bashing the day after. It is more of less like that guy that walks into a casino thinking: "I'm feeling lucky", only to have to file for bankruptcy after betting all his tokens on impulse. So, yes, feel free to say whatever you think, without having to apologize. Your honest opinion matters.

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Unread 03-26-2021, 03:29 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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His work's title and date drew me in since Europe was about to boil over as WW II the next year.
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Unread 03-26-2021, 03:55 PM
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Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Location: UK
Posts: 393


Guernica (the art work) is such an art history staple, but also a really interesting, important, extraordinary piece of work which marks one of the confluences of arts influence on politics (if you ask me, which you didnít).

And Picasso a curated character, too, in our knowing of him.

In terms of writing I really enjoy the images in the first strophe, and in S2.

I find the conceit of Picasso asleep a bit tricky. Who are we to say what this dead man thought or felt. Or the human deprivations, the cold, the hunger of his war when he was painting the image?

I worry about appropriating the dead to small poetic ends. If you made it clearer that itís the narrator dreaming of themselves being Picasso (which I think it is) then that would help me with this poem.

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