Japanese Tea Set

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

Photo by Oriento from Unsplash


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 a 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.


You should know by now that I love poetry. It’s a way of probing at, pointing towards and sometimes even touching that which often seems incomprehensible. In this way, holding our hand as we make sense of and find ourselves in, the complexity of our lives.


👉For more poetry, you can join me on Instagram, Facebook or Spaces Between below.

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