Keeping Quiet…let’s stop for a second

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Keeping Quiet             by 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 one 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 look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victory 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.

 

photo Rose Cook

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On Looking At The Beginning Of A Lifetime

On Looking At The Beginning Of A Lifetime

 

All night, a growing sound

which opens the door

to allow a body through.

 

The day you were born

a mist rose from the river.

Seven swans flew over the bridge

their wings sounding damp air.

 

How can I write for you?

My heart is rapt, listening

to your soft breath.

We are still coming to ground.

 

 

poem and photo Rose Cook

(poem from Taking Flight by Rose Cook, pub Oversteps Books 2009)