Keeping Quiet

Pablo Neruda

 

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.

 

This poem is published in the book, Extravagaria, by Pablo Neruda (1974).