wild & precious life

By IrwellRiver

Slowing down and doing nothing

Lovely Sunday rest day...going as slow as this snail that I spotted on our bin shed in the rain.

Had some lovely unexpected correspondence which contained the following poem by Pablo Neruda, a reminder to not rush around single-mindedly 'keeping our lives moving' (which is how it's felt recently despite the 'sudden strangeness' of lockdown). The charity I work for, however, did get a special thank you from Downing Street, apparently, thanking all workers for continuing to support people during this time. Nevertheless, it's all been a bit too much and remembering to be still and let 'the earth teach us', feels really important right now to stay well.

This poem seems written for this time. Hope you enjoy:

“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 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.

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;

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

Sign in or get an account to comment.