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Gerda Taro (1910 - 1937)

 

Gerda Taro fought the people’s war

With a lens to the left of the action.

Women crouching, pistols pointing,

Volunteers falling in.

Resistance leaders in Valencia

Give speeches of solidarity, frozen

In frames desperate to breathe sound

Into a conflict cursed with silence.

 

The shadow of Capa kept her cold.

The famous falling soldier

Sealed one reputation

But hid another, just behind the frontline,

Where the unseen action of weeping,

Smoking, laughing and hoping

For victory against the odds

Took place.

 

These pictures pretend no objectivity,

This is partisan territory.

A plea to break the fence,

To see the people

To help Spain.

 

This is the art of persuasion.

This is the art of stirring up nation after nation,

This is the art that cries out

Wake up!

‘Don’t you see the blood on the streets?’

 

Daring to shame the shameless

Ce Soir revealed Spain

To a world not yet familiar

With the backward glance of refugees

Fleeing the fires of fascism;

To a world in denial

Of the furnace yet to come.

 

Steve Bishop