by Pablo Neruda
[Listen to Audio!]
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.
About the Author: Pablo Neruda is a Chilean poet, who started writings poems at the age of 13. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.
|Latest Community Insights
What does ‘do nothing’ mean to you? Can you share a personal story of a time you could feel life interrupting sadness as a result of your pausing? How do you reconcile the adage “keep moving on” with the poet’s critique of our single-mindedness to keep our lives moving?
|Kristin Pedemonti wrote: Perfect timing, thank you. Do nothing means to stop and sit and be. I am in this exact position today as I take a break from what can be a “go getter” “overachiever” energy in Washington DC. I …
|david doane wrote: In reading this passage, some of my favorite quotes come to mind. Rumi said, “Silence is the language of God, all else is a poor translation.” According to Pascal, “All of humanity’…
|ð· wrote: Thank you for allowing us into your story Kristin! You are blessed! …
|Jagdish P Dave wrote: Poet Pablo Neurada remins me of a poem written by an anonymus Zen master. …
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