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The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet


Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

About the Poet

  • Name: Pablo Neruda (pen name of Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto)
  • Birth: Born in Parral, Chile, 1904
  • Achievements: Nobel Prize for Literature, 1971
  • Poetic Style: Known for vivid imagery and beauty, accessible yet profound.


The poem "Keeping Quiet" by Pablo Neruda is a profound call for silence, introspection, and unity. It invites readers to experience a moment of stillness, away from the hustle and chaos of modern life, to foster a deeper understanding and connection among all beings.


  • Silence and Introspection: Encourages a pause in our busy lives to reflect inwardly and embrace peace.
  • Unity and Understanding: Advocates for a silent togetherness that transcends language and action, promoting mutual empathy.
  • Connection with Nature: Suggests a moment of stillness to prevent harm to nature and to appreciate our role within it.


  • The poem begins with an invitation to count to twelve and then keep quiet, symbolizing a universal moment of silence for reflection.
  • It imagines a world where, even for a second, there's no movement or speech, allowing for a collective experience of peace and strange togetherness.
  • Neruda highlights the potential for this pause to prevent harm—both to nature (e.g., fishermen not harming whales) and among humans (e.g., stopping the preparations for wars).


Neruda's "Keeping Quiet" is more than a poem; it's a philosophical meditation on the power of silence and stillness in creating a more empathetic and connected world. By proposing a global pause, the poem invites us to reconsider our actions, our relationships with others, and our connection to nature.


"Keeping Quiet" is a timeless appeal for peace, introspection, and unity. Neruda's call to action is simple yet profound: to stop, to be silent, and in that silence, to find our shared humanity and our place in the living tapestry of the Earth.