Ronovan asks for a poem inspired by Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica. The image below is a mural inspired by the painting in the Falls Road, Belfast.

Photo ©Ross


Nothing changes.

Robotic brains create and annihilate


lion, horse, sparrow,

your wife, her husband, their children.

Lessons of history?

There are none to be learned.

History records not teaches;

we know what we do,

we revel in the blood of the other.

The fire that fell out of the sky still falls,

applauded by the same hands,

anointed by the same dogmas.

Man, the apocalypse,

Je Suis Cronus,

Uranus, Saturn,

parricides, infanticides

and so much blood,

these hands,

though the oceans they incarnadine,

will never be washed clean.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

45 thoughts on “Guernica”

    1. I don’t understand why people keep saying ‘we should learn the lessons of history’. It doesn’t make sense. It implies that if only we paid more attention we would ‘learn’ that…what? If you’re Germany you shouldn’t start wars because you always lose? Napalming children always gets you a bad press in the end? You can’t gas six million Jews and expect the survivors to forget? Those are the lessons we could ‘learn’. Those who didn’t think it was immoral then, won’t change their minds because it has become history.

      1. The only thing history teaches us is that it doesn’t teach us a thing. Maybe it’s there to teach, but we’re obviously bad learners. The worst kind of students, those who have trouble memorizing easily but forget very quickly.

      2. It doesn’t teach us morality, good from bad, it just possibly shows us (if we can be bothered to reel back and study) some of the stunts that work out and some that fail. It’s technicalities, like military strategy not morality.

  1. Amazing recreation. If only some so enchanted by social media would take time to discovery history – and realize time seems to be set on endless reruns – we can only hope for a break in the cycle and try a different road…but then the results would be different and some, those power brokers, really seem to like/benefit from the cycle as it is
    Only repeat and rinse and repeat for those who are fodder

    1. That’s the way it looks, isn’t it? It’s the lack of any sense of humanity in us as a species that is so dispiriting. We go from one massacre to the next and think that sending thoughts and prayers is absolution.

  2. There are others, waiting in dark corners to do unto others. That will never end.

    I wrote a short poem to respond to this. Instead I’ll post it as a response to Ronovan, if I can scratch up at title.

    1. Well, I had a look at the submission guidelines, saw they wanted two poems, so I wrote a second one and sent them off this morning. I had a reply in an hour or so to say they’ll take both. That was rapid!

      1. Told you. M’s pretty cool.
        You don’t need two (but good that you wrote another one), I know a couple of people who submitted one and were published, as long as it’s political/social.
        Great news.
        (Btw, my blog is now private, had some problems I wanted to get rid of, so you’ll have to ask for access, you’ll see…)

      2. Yes, it was good to get a reply so quickly.
        I tried to log in to your blog this morning and got the private message. I thought maybe it was WP playing silly buggers again. I’ll ask for permission then 🙂

      3. It was, wasn’t it? I hate when we have to wait for months.

        It wasn’t WP, it was some people I don’t know to start with playing with my nerves. Granted. Welcome to my new playground.

      4. Blimey! It’s your new place not mine! If you don’t like the Japanese bridge where I see it, just put it somewhere else, or have the Golden Gate instead and baobabs or a mangrove swamp instead of the formal box hedges. I personally like Frank Lloyd Wright, but if you’re happier with a bit of rococo go ahead.

      5. I am, very. I’ve been a mess for days because of the site and everything around it, so it’s gonna take some time till my sense of humor’s back. I’m not much fun…

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