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.

Fisherman 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 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