waiting on the front porch

she just stood there on the front porch waiting for her will to come and get her she was packed she had a suitcase full of noble intentions she had a map and a straight face hell bent on reinvention she was learning about please and huge humilities then one day she looked around her and everything up til then was showing and she wondered how did i get here without even knowing where i was going? ~ani difranco

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

poetry thursday


i didn't follow the prompt for poetry thursday, because i've had neruda on the brain. i lent my collection of neruda poetry to my cuban friend one year and forgot to get it back from him when i moved. neruda's voice is one of the ones that flutters around in my head a lot. his rhythms ground me.

this is one of my favourites. when banane moved to ecuador for 8 months, i kept a journal for her for every day she was gone, and i sent this poem to her right before she came back. i found it torn out of its original letter and taped to her current journal - it's just one of those poems that changes lives.

Keeping Quiet
by Pablo Neruda. (trans. Alastair Reid.)
And 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,
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.

17 Comments:

Anonymous brian said...

I am always discovering new poets thanks to Thursday. Thank you for sharing your poet with me.

7:46 AM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

THIS was yummy and so worth a re-read, Bee :D

Loving you sweet girl,
xox darlene

9:27 AM  
Blogger blackdaisies said...

i love poetry thursday because i get to discover new bits of beauty, profound words ... thank you for this introduction to pablo neruda ... :)

10:02 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Actually have goosebumps from reading that. Thanks for sharing that one. It is really speaking to me at the moment.

Cheers,

Scott

1:03 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

fabulous choice! do you have the soundtrack to Il Postino?

2:16 PM  
Blogger Spiky Zora Jones said...

Yeah Bee! I would so love to get drunk with Pablo. Pablo...Palbo, pase la botella, dude.

He just seems to make poetry so loose and fun. you know, like he lets you see into every corner of his mind.

Thanks sweetie...hugs for you are free. um...tomorrow they're half price. that means free free...later babes.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I loveLoveLOVE Neruda and that one is especially wonderful. Thank you so much for posting it!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Débora said...

I love Neruda, first time i read it in inglish (i´m mexican by the way). I had the oportunity to travel to Chile and visit 3 of the houses were he lived WOW¡¡¡¡ Since then remembering each of his houses and the way he LIVED for me is an inspiration. Tasting and enjoying everything in life.
Thanks for sharing.

Débora

3:36 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

i get a certain feeling everytime i read naruda...a certain soft, ocean blue, quiet sunlight sort of feel. he calms me.

and i'm a little jealous of debora. it would be wonderful to visit the places he wrote from.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Cheshire Cat said...

ooooh! that poem gave me chills - up my arms and down my back. I enjoyed that immensely.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

I started writing poetry after reading Neruda. Thank you for sharing this. His work is beyond incredible.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Shaz said...

Blogging has opened my eyes to so many new and exciting things.
I hear beautiful poems from well known and not so well known poets. I have only owned a computer for the last few years and have found so many wonderful people and their thoughts through this medium that I am in awe of everything.(lovein that) Thanks Bee x

8:59 PM  
Blogger a m y said...

This poem is so lovely. Thank you for sharing, dear heart.

7:25 PM  
Blogger megg said...

wow, wow, wow. I hadn't read that before. Wow. Thank you so much. Wow. I need to go back and read that again...

8:30 AM  
Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

...perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
I too am a huge fan of Neruda. I love the messages in this poem ... the quiet is so often ignored, forgotten and undervalued. I love his call for standing together in stillness. Thank you for posting this Bee. much peace & love, JP

5:04 AM  
Blogger Hulles said...

Very nice. We share a love of Neruda; I posted his Verbo a few days ago myself.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

i got so very spoiled during NaBloPoMo. i miss your daily posts. ok...but you're probably being busy-bee-the-good-student...and i definately ADMIRE you for that. so right now i'm sending my love to you just for the heck of it. :)

love ya,
j.

4:35 PM  

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