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Saturday, May 30, 2015

A callarse

Keeping Quiet: Sylvia Boorstein Reads Pablo Neruda’s Beautiful Ode to Silence

An lyrical reminder to break the momentum of busyness that fuels “the sadness of never understanding ourselves.”
“Make a place to sit down. Sit down. Be quiet…”So begins Wendell Berry’s “How to Be a Poet,”tucked into which is tremendous sagacity on how to be a good human being. “The impulse to create begins… in a tunnel of silence,” wrote Adrienne Rich in her tremendous lecture on art and freedom“Every real poem is the breaking of an existing silence.”
No poet breaks the silence with silence, nor slices through its vitalizing, clarifying, and transcendent power, with more piercing elegance than Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904–September 23, 1973) in a poem titled “Keep Quiet” from his 1974 volume Extravagaria(public library), translated by Alastair Reid./.../


Neruda’s “Keeping Quiet”

This past week there has been some a stream of Pablo Neruda poetry posts. I first read about this wonderful phenomenon over atTruly Outrageous. And Sylvia at the Anti-Essentialist Conundrum, who posted the first Neruda poem, has been tracking the Neruda craze.
I first discovered Neruda the summer I was 16, and am pleased to join in the Neruda blogging with:
A callarse / Keeping Quiet
Ahora contaremos doce
y nos quedamos todos quietos.
Por una vez sobre la tierra
no hablemos en ningún idioma,
por un segundo detengámonos,
no movamos tanto los brazos.
Sería un minuto fragante,
sin prisa, sin locomotoras,
todos estaríamos juntos
en una inquietud instantánea.
Los pescadores del mar frió
no harían daño a las ballenas
y el trabajador de la sal
miraría sus manos rotas.
Los que preparan guerras verdes,
guerras de gas, guerras de fuego,
victorias sin sobrevivientes,
se pondrían un traje puro
y andarían son sus hermanos
por la sombra, sin hacer nada.
No se confunda lo quiero
con la inacción definitiva:
la vida es solo lo que se hace,
no quiero nada con la muerte.
Si no pudimos ser unánimes
moviendo tanto nuestras vidas
tal vez no hacer nada una vez,
tal vez un gran silencio pueda
interrumpir esta tristeza,
este no entendernos jamás
y amenazarnos con la muerte,
tal vez la tierra nos enseñe
cuando todo parece muerto
y luego todo estaba vivo.
Ahora contare hasta doce
y tú te callas y me voy.
Keeping Quiet / A callarse
Now we will all count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
This one time upon the earth,
let’s not speak any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.
The fisherman in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.
What I want shouldn’t be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren’t unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,
if we could perhaps do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and everything is alive.
Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I’ll go.
-By Pablo Neruda
-Englsih translation by Stephen Mitchell

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