Keeping Quiet

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I read this poem earlier this week and thought it was very appropriate for the time we are experiencing, with our stay at home order. Maybe a little silence would be in order.
by Pablo Naruda
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 a 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.
Fishermen 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,
victories 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…
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
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

“Pablo Neruda was a Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet-diplomat and politician. Neruda became known as a poet when he was 13 years old, and wrote in a variety of styles, including surrealist poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and passionate love poems such as the ones in his collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.”

                                                                                                                                                                ~From Wikipedia~

Photo: Dwight L. Roth


The Times They are a Changing


Some people think the country today is divided like never before, but the reality is there has always been a divide in political thinking. When I went to college back in the 1960’s there was just as much conflict as there is today.  The Civil Rights movement was changing the social fabric of the country. The Viet Nam War was moving into full swing. Protesters marched on Washington, DC in record numbers protesting the war. Everything changes over time and will continue to do so. This poem is a tribute to the changing times I grew up in a couple of generations ago.

The Time They Are a Changing

I came of age in the 1960’s innocent and naïve

It was a time of turmoil, hate, and strife

Yet I never knew I couldn’t believe

When I was in eleventh grade

The news came over the PA

President Kennedy was shot today

They said it was Oswald from some distance away

Bobby, Martin, and John all fell by the gun

Hate reigned supreme under white hooded strangers

I never knew the divisions there were

In my isolated corner of the world

With signs of injustice, bigotry, and division

Blacks only whites only I could not imagine

I had friends of both shades

Separation never entered my mind.

They were in my class every grade down the line

People were marching crying for change

Facing dogs and fire hose every step of the way

Then one day I heard something new

With sweet harmonies and Folk Music the peace marches grew

A tidal wave of change throughout the land

Words that spoke volumes and rang true against the Klan

“How many roads must a man walk down

Before you can call him a man?”

“If I had a hammer

I’d the hammer out Justice, ring the bell of freedom

And sing a song about love between my brothers and sisters

All over this land

Seeger, Dillon, Paxton and Biaz

Peter Paul and Mary were the best in my eyes

Bringing hope and change to a weary land.

Prophets Simon and Garfunkle were really grand

With sounds of silence and Homeward Bound

Bridge over Troubled Waters making their stand

Dark clouds gathered as we entered Viet Nam

Protests and marches throughout the land

As the sixties closed the marches continued

It would be a long while till the country blended

But change can happen when we love each other

Working hand in hand to help our brother

This song sums it up in a few short lines

They’ll know we are Christians by our Love by our Love

They will know we are Christians by our Love


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