A Critique of Pablo Neruda's "Keeping Still"

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Keeping Still by Pablo Neruda is a thought provoking work of poetry. The poem was probably applicable to humanity of the time when it was authored, but it eerily fits so well into this moment of time and space. The notion of slowing the pace of life down for just a moment to realize that every living thing could use a moment of peace and reflection is so applicable to our lives in the Silicon Valley. With our hectic ways of trying to survive financially, complete our education, live and raise a family, we quickly forget about life itself at a basic level. We take practically everything for granted because we get so caught up in…well, life.

An idea of world peace to be realized by everybody at the same time is portrayed vividly as well. No chaos, unrest, war, political persecution or death. An image of complete bliss, if momentarily, flashes to show people coming together without prejudice and a common goal to help each other instead of chasing the almighty dollar.

Neruda uses some different poetic elements to portray his vision, including repetition. An example of repetition can be found linking the beginning to the end. "Now we will count to twelve", is the first line of the poem and the second to last line of the poem. It reiterates the countdown to momentary silence. It gives the reader something to think about before the poem gets underway and it is almost oddly placed. But at the end when it is said again it makes you imagine everything that he has proposed seem so easily obtainable by simply counting to twelve.

Another poetic element that he uses is metaphors. An example of this is when he says, "Victories with no survivors." It is a contrasting sentence that was probably referring to either of the World Wars.

I really enjoyed reading this poem. It pertains a lot to my life and the immediate population of the Bay Area. Heck, anyone who works a lot of hours and has daily stress can relate to this poem. Neruda is correct about people not...
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