Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda
Illustration from the book, Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People – March 29, 2011 by Monica Brown
Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth let’s not speak in any language, let’s stop for one second, and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines. we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about, I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.
~ Pablo Neruda is a Chilean poet, who started writings poems at the age of 13. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. Neruda always wrote in green ink as it was his personal color of hope.