Summary of Keeping Quiet
Keeping Quiet summary discusses peace, humanity, and brotherhood. This poem is by the author Pablo Neruda. The poem is explosive as well as quiet at the same time. Neruda speaks of a world of wisdom in a calm fashion. Neruda believes that staunch activism is not the best way to get into the heart and minds of the masses. Consequently, the author speaks with much serenity. Furthermore, this serenity creates an aftermath of thought ripples in the minds of the reader. The poet wants the readers to take time out of their busy lives for retrospection and introspection. The poem is symbolic of stopping all activities and understanding the purpose of the world. Keeping Quiet appeals to the heart of the readers in contrast to the intellect. Through this poem, Neruda aims to get his readers thinking and pondering as opposed to intellectual stimulation.
Keeping Quiet Summary in English
This poem emphasizes the importance of self-introspection and silence. Furthermore, these two can transform the life of an individual. Moreover, they can also transform the face of the earth. The poet says that self-introspection and silence do not take much time to look within. Any individual can do it and examine oneself. This is easy and takes only as long as it will take someone to count to twelve. During this time of introspection (self-examination), it is important for the individual to keep quiet. The individual must say nothing at all. Without silence and keeping quiet, self-introspection will not work. Silently introspecting will give the individual a strange feeling of unity and togetherness with all others.
In the beginning, it will certainly feel a little strange. However, eventually, it has the power to bring us all together. This silence will be free from the annoying sounds of engines. Furthermore, this silence will also be free from the people rushing to get their work done. The author feels contentment while imagining the change that will take place in those moments. The men who have to deal with the pain while collecting salt will get a little relief. Even the people who desire war and destruction will put on clean clothes and an opportunity to walk among their brothers. They will get to experience a life that is free of enmity and hatred. There will be a halt to their destructive and dangerous activities. Peace and tranquillity will prevail everywhere once such harmful activities come to a stop, even if it is for a short time.
The poet clarifies that his wish should not mean “total inactivity”. The poet only desires to interrupt the violent, cruel, and sad activities taking place all over the world for a few moments and let individuals introspect their actions. In fact, there is a connection to what he says with life rather than death. Activity is the very essence of life whereas inactivity is symbolic of death. However, for a new, improved, and useful activity, a little stillness is quite important.
The poet makes use of the image of the earth to explain how life exists in things that seem dormant. In winter, the earth becomes very silent and it seems to be dead. The Earth becomes lively again in spring. Furthermore, in spring, the addition of fresh new beauties and colours takes place. In a similar fashion, man can resume his activities in a better manner after a little silence and quietness.
Conclusion of Keeping Quiet
Keeping Quiet summary tells us about the big impact of silence and self-introspection in making this world a better place.