On this day 24th June 1901 Pablo Picasso opened his first exhibition in Paris. He was 19 years of age. Picasso’s most famous painting is Guernica (1937) depicting the aerial bombing of the Basque town by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy at the request of Spain’s fascist Franco.
By A.S. Knowland
Irun- Badajoz – Malaga – and then Guernica
So that the swastika and the eagle
might spring from the blood-red soil,
bombs were sown into the earth at Guernica,
whose only harvest was a calculated slaughter.
Lest freedon should wave between the grasses
and the corn its proud emblem, or love
be allowed to tread its native fields,
Fascism was sent to destroy the innocent,
and, goose-stepping to the exaggerated waving
of the two-faced flag, to save Spain.
But though the soil be saturated with blood
as a very efficient fertiliser, the furrow
of the ghastly Fasces shall remain barren.
The planted swastika, the eagle grafted
on natural stock shall wither and remain sere;
for no uniformed force shall marshall the sap
thrilling to thrust buds into blossoms, or quicken
the dead ends of the blighted branches;
but the soil shall be set against an alien crop
and the seed be blasted in the planting.
But strength lies in the strength of the roots.
They shall not pass to ruin Spain!