Friday, April 6, 2012

As It Should Be

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I am going to the zoo today to visit my friend the jaguar. I will show her my new hat. I will eat popcorn with the Hooligan and tuck myself into a corner and write somewhere while he plays and plays and plays.

My writing will likely be disjointed, nonsensical in spots because I will have to look up and keep an eye on the Hooligan periodically. He will catch my eye, wink and give me a thumbs up and I will smile and think that there was never a more beautiful boy on this planet. And all of the mothers around me will be thinking similar thoughts about their own little hooligans and that is as it should be.

 As long as they think these similar thoughts quietly and don't interrupt my writing. But they almost never do. I pull out my notebook and my pen and I am given wide berth in the playgrounds of the city. That is as it should be.

It has been a noisy week, folks. So many different kinds of noise. I leave you with this reflection for the weekend.

"Keeping Quiet" by Pablo Neruda (translated by Alastair Reid)

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.


  1. Yes, as it should be. I resent the idea that just because we are two parents who happen to be at the playground at the same time, we must be friends. Or we must at least chat like friends while children play. I just want to read my book. I suppose that makes me a curmudgeon. Write away, Lou. If I see you, I'll give you berth.

    1. I am picking up what you're putting down, sister. The thing is, if I ever saw you at a park, I would probably enjoy talking to you!

  2. It's probably sacrilegious to say that the poem reminds me a tiny bit of The Eagles song "Learn To Be Still," which is a favorite of mine. Who says pop culture and culture can't be friends? Have a good (quiet) weekend.

    1. Probably sacrilegious?! Ha! You know the old saying: "One man's Pablo Neruda is another man's Don Henley."

  3. I will be reading my book in solidarity with you (but in a zoo of my own making....)


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