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Keeping Quiet

lake between trees and mountains - Keeping QuietKeeping Quiet

By Pablo Neruda
 Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
For once on the face of the
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.
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
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
We’ve been wintering for many weeks now. We’ve been adapting to living in a pandemic for many months. And many of us feel ready-already for a shift – perhaps we crave more sunlight and longer days, perhaps we desire greater certainty and peace. Feeling increasing amounts of restlessness myself, I appreciate Pablo Neruda’s gentle call for patience.
Where in life might it be helpful to count to twelve?
In appreciation,
The Poetry of Pablo Neruda offers a comprehensive collection of Neruda’s work. You may also want to check out Quiet – an ongoing silent meditation series dedicated to accessing the healing and replenishing benefits of tranquility and to connect with natural wisdom.
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