as a teacher, i invite children to 32 seconds of stillness every day. we listen to an old woman in japan sing a lullaby about carp. sometimes children sit. sometimes they curl up on their sides. sometimes the lean right next to me. sometimes they lay on top of me. sometimes they spend half their time running to turn off the lights. sometimes they spend the entire song gathering blankets and pillows for themselves.
we almost always do another 32 seconds…she sings for us again…and then, then there is maybe one second where we are all still at the same time. bliss.
i have an image that has landed in my mind regularly for years. i imagine the world getting pulses of peace. a simple moment where everything is Right. i believe in it. i want it. i wonder if it has ever happened. i wonder if it is happening the moment the thought comes. the possibility of global rest makes me giddy.
finding this poem tonight brought those two things to mind…now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. ahhhh…
by Pablo Neruda
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 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;
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.
3 thoughts on “stopping still for one second”
How beautiful! And what satisfaction to find such a perfect poem for what you have been dreaming of.
I love the poem, but I love your paragraph before the poem even more. I found myself singing it. May I?
“i have an image that has landed in my mind regularly for years. i imagine the world getting pulses of peace. a simple moment where everything is Right. i believe in it. i want it. i wonder if it has ever happened. i wonder if it is happening the moment the thought comes. the possibility of global rest makes me giddy.”
Love you! Dad
Oh yeah, and how could I possibly forget to comment on the photos. What marvel there is on this globe. Even the insides of flowers could participate in global rest. In fact, I suppose they’re the ones already doing that all the time. Beautiful.