Writers Respond:
Kirsten Luckins in response to Conscience and Conflict, British Artists and the Spanish Civil War

Catalonia, 1936
Atlas was a woman and she carried the world
on her shoulders like a laundry ball,
and she washed her neck with sodden homespun,
and her neck was a pillar of the transept,
and her shoulder were mules.
Her breasts were the skies turned inside out,
and they were cups of suds,
and they were village halls,
and her belly was an oaktree,
and she gathered her people into her like beetles into bark,
and her feet were well-shafts,
and her hands were ladles,
and her open mouth was a tin plate banged for a dinner bell,
but her shut mouth was a tomb for an unknown soldier.
She sat in her headscarf for La Inglesita to draw,
and she was a stub of wax crayon in her headscarf,
and her petticoats were hemmed with passion-flowers,
and her knees cried out ‘No Pasarán!’
and her face became the roadmap of a burned town,
and her faith became a garbled Picasso,
and her eyes filled with bombers so she kept them on the stockpot,
and when it was time to fetch the dead home from the rubble
she carried them on her shoulders like the world.

Kirsten Luckins is a poet based in Teesside

Image courtesy of the Edward Burra Estate, Lefevre Fine Art, London
Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War
The Laing, Newcastle

7 March-7 June 2015

Published 13.04.2015 by Louise Winter in Explorations

231 words