Keeping Quiet Summary by Pablo Neruda


Pablo Neruda was a famous poet and politician and regarded as one of the prominent writers of the 20th century as well as he was a French writer.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez who was one of the famous  novelists appreciated him and called Neruda “the greatest of the 20th century in any language.”

Keeping Quiet is a well-known poem by Pablo Neruda written in Spanish and later translated into the English Language. The writer is a Nobel Prize winner and wants to capture the attention of the readers to take some time from their busy schedule for introspection and retrospection.

The Title

As the title “Keeping Quite” clearly describes the theme of the poem to stop everything and keeping quiet for sometime mentally as well as physically.

The post wants the people to forget all the differences we possess and to come under one umbrella. He advises that one should break all the hurdles or barriers of enmity, caste and creed, religion and country and get together to introspect ourselves. Despite having all the differences we should leave all the negatives for the better world and society around.

A Game of Hide and Seek

The poem opens in an engaging dramatic scene as a game of hides and seeks but it is a reversed one. In this game, all the players count to twelve and keep silent for one second.

They have to stop all physical and mental activities. They will not search outside instead they will look inside themselves and do introspection. In this game, all will be the same and speak the same language of silence.

All the people will stop the rat race, the mad pursuit and the greed which is destroying one’s self and the others as well. Those people who prepare for new wars they will realize that the victory of war with no survivors is just fruitless.

In the process of realization, the war lovers will shed off their clothes stained with blood and starts to walk in the shade of brotherhood with others. This will encourage people to lead a life of love and kindness instead of hatred.

Poet pointed towards the use of ‘arms’ it could be that he is asking not to use tools against others as well as we need to stop violence against others.

Keeping Quiet for Betterment

These lines show that this Keeping Quiet is not only about human beings and their betterment rather it also pays attention to other living beings as animals. It is about to bring peace between nature and human beings where the hunter becomes kind to his prey.

In this unity people become selfless and won’t hurt others rather they try to understand others and it reflects in their actions. The conflict between oppressor and oppressed resolves with the passage of time as people understand others and try to console them.

Green Wars

The writer pointed towards the “green wars” which means that exploitation of nature by the hands of advanced tools was a common practice through wars with gas and wars with fire.

The wars people fought for the territorial issues against each other lead towards the great destruction of nature as well as human beings themselves. The masterminds behind the advanced tools as bombs think that they are going towards progress which in fact leads towards destruction and destruction is not any kind of progress.

Neruda describes that people should be clean hands against each other and they should spend time with harmony among others “in the shades” means with peace and love not only with each other but with nature as well.

Basic Purpose of Life

The basic purpose of all human beings is to live and they struggle for it all their lives. This struggle becomes their single-minded perspective of life that they have to accomplish their goals in life for survival in this life. This will never leave you free to think about yourself.

If people slow down and ponder about their selves, there will be a space between, which will cause sadness not to be able to appreciate themselves. Then death becomes a threat for us as we think death will stop us to complete our tasks of survival. The writer provokes people to learn this practice from nature as the things seem dead will be alive again.

We can observe in winter when trees become lifeless due to snow and cold. With the cycle of seasons, this climate turns and the environment comes alive.

The Earth

The earth is also a great example of this life and death cycle. Earth becomes alive after being damaged by the hands of human beings. By giving the aspects of life writer leaves readers a thought process and passed the message to slow down their daily life tasks and pay attention to their inner selves.

Keeping Quiet gives a message of peace and love all over the world. It makes the reader feel to stop all kinds of aggression and degradation of nature. The poem has imagery as human beings as the hands of the clock which has the number twelve in the mid of the clock.

Moving in a routine if we stop at twelve and do some introspection it will be good for all of us. The differences between the three hands of the clock fade away and everything becomes one.