April 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is That a Poem in Your Pocket?

The idea is simple. On April 26, 2012, National Poem in Your Pocket Day, carry a poem in your pocket and share it with co-workers, family, and friends. On Poem in Your Pocket Day, celebrated each year during National Poetry Month, poems from pockets will be unfolded at events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores in all 50 states throughout the country. Choose your own pocket poem from's selection of new printable PDFs—including classic poems from the Academy's Poem in Your Pocket anthologies

Here's the poem in my pocket. It's in Ann's pocket, too.

Keeping Quiet - 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.

1 comment:

  1. I love this poem, Mary. Thanks for sharing it. I love, "...let's stop for one second, and not move our arms so much..."

    The poem I carried with me: (Dedications) by Adrienne Rich

    Take care,


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