Friday, August 26, 2005

Keeping Quiet, Pablo Neruda

Keeping Quiet

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…

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 in winter
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

~ Pablo Neruda, Extravagaria, translated by Alastair Reid

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