"Keeping Quiet" is a poem by Pablo Neruda that encourages the reader to take a break from the busyness of life and to embrace stillness and silence. The poem is structured in five stanzas of varying lengths and does not follow a specific rhyme scheme.
1️⃣ First Stanza
The poem begins with the speaker's invitation to the reader to "now we will count to twelve / and we will all keep still." This counting to twelve is symbolic of taking a moment to pause and reflect, rather than rushing headlong into action. The speaker then invites the reader to experience the sensation of being still, suggesting that in this state, we can better hear our thoughts and connect with our inner selves.
2️⃣ Second Stanza
In the second stanza, the speaker describes how being quiet and still can help us recognise our interconnectedness with others. By "listening to others' voices," we become more aware of our shared humanity, which can lead to a greater sense of empathy and understanding.
3️⃣ Third Stanza
The third stanza further explores this idea of connection, as the speaker urges us to "recognise what we are not." In other words, by setting aside our individual identities and egos, we can better appreciate the common threads that bind us all together.
4️⃣ Fourth Stanza
In the fourth stanza, the speaker turns his attention to nature, describing how even the earth can benefit from stillness and quietness. By "stopping the machinery of the World," we can give the planet a moment of respite from modern life's constant progress and pollution.
5️⃣ Fifth Stanza
Finally, in the fifth and last stanza, the speaker returns to the idea of stillness to connect with our inner selves. He suggests that in this state of quiet, we can better understand our own thoughts and feelings and, by extension, the thoughts and feelings of others. The poem ends with the speaker urging us to take this sense of connection and empathy out into the World, saying, "let's try to live life without any death / let's try to live life / as if we were eternal."
Overall, "Keeping Quiet" reflects the power of stillness and silence to help us connect with ourselves, others, and the natural World.
The poem encourages us to take a moment to pause, reflect, and appreciate the interconnectedness of all things.