Summary of the poem:
In this poem, the poet has emphasized
the need to introspect and bring in the spirit of brotherhood among the people
of the world. He wants people to stop talking and stop all movements
symbolizing agitation and restlessness till he counts twelve, that is, a short
period of time. These moments of silence would be strange and exotic because in
our mundane life we are working towards selfish goals, regardless of the other’
requirements and emotions. Hence, this sudden silence would give us an
opportunity to introspect. Since we would not speak for a while, barriers
between communities would break and a sense of brotherhood would prevail. Man
would get an opportunity to realize how he is destroying nature and how he is
harming himself. Futile wars against men and nature would be arrested and a new
feeling of unity would be experienced. The poet does not want his desire for
inactivity to be misunderstood as a state of uselessness. He wants men to learn
a lesson from the Earth. The Earth appears to be inactive yet it is selflessly
productive. Men too could be productive and progressive without any aggression,
selfishness and the urge for destruction.
the poet advocate silence ?
Ans -The poet advocates silence
so that we can get time for introspection. There is a mad rush in the world
today. Confusion, tension and stress prevail everywhere. Relaxation is lacking
in the world. The poet says us to keep quiet and introspect ourselves so that
we can be freed from worldly maladies.
2Q. What is significant about “twelve” in the poem?
Ans.There are twenty-four hours in a day in
all, with twelve hours for a half a day. The hours are numbered from one to
twelve for both the ante meridiem (a.m.) half of the day and the post meridiem
(p.m.) half of the day. 12:00 after a.m. and before p.m. (in the middle of the
day) is midday or noon, and 12:00 after p.m. and before a.m. (in the middle of
the night) is midnight. A new day is considered to start with the stroke of
midnight. Furthermore, the basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, and 24
hours) can all perfectly divide by twelve.
In scripture we find twelve
associated with rule. The sun which rules the day and the
moon and stars which govern the night move through the twelve signs of the
zodiac. The zodiac resides in the great circle of the heavens, which is
itself 360 degrees (= 30 x 12).
The Heavenly City of Revelations has
twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes on them. Twelve angels stand
at the gates; the walls have twelve foundations garnished with twelve precious
stones, and in them the names of the twelve apostles. The city is twelve
thousand furlongs square, and the twelve gates are twelve pearls. The number
twelve is used here symbolically of God's perfect government.
The importance of 12 in Judaism and
Christianity can be found in the Bible. The Twelfth chapter of the Bible starts
with God calling Abram to come out of the land he was living in and go where
God would tell him. This is the beginning of God’s plan to call out a nation
unto him, that would be ruled by God and be a testimony to all the nations of
the earth of the one true God. Here we can see the link between perfect
government and the number twelve.
12 days of Christmas.
calendar systems have twelve months in a year.
twelve, the hands of a clock are one. It is Oneness that the poem calls for.
letters in the title “Keeping Quiet”, there are twelve.
poet may have used 'twelve' for no reason.
3Q. what does the poet advocate to do to
create feeling’s of mutual understanding and unity
among human beings ?
Ans. Here the poet is encouraging a unified
movement among people, with no discrimination based on race or language. This
would be a mass movement for the first time on the face of the earth, and would
greatly enhance unity. Let us stop for a moment and not move our hands so much
in violence i.e. Let us not fight and argue so much.
4Q.who are those
who prepare green wars’ here? What would they do when they introspect for a few moments?
Ans. Those who prepare green wars’ are the
people engaged in researching new methods
warfare like biological weapons eg, nerve gas. They
aim at getting victory even if the entire humanity is wiped out. When they keep
quiet they would realize a newness of life. They would put on new clothes and
crave for meeting and harmonizing with their fellow brothers.
5Q. what does the poet actually mean by
keeping quiet when he says that it should not be confused with total
Ans. The poet cautions the reader that keeping quiet does
not mean total inactivity or resignation to or negation of life. Actually he
means that life as it happens should be lived with full involvement, both
physically and spiritually. This is clear in his saying ‘ I
want no truck with death’.
6Q.what importance does the poet give to The Earth,
when he says that it can teach us an essential meaning of life?
Ans. The poet says that when everything seems dead on the
surface of the earth, there pulsates and throbs life underneath. It means that
the earth should be seen and realized in the right perspective. Keeping still for some time opens up its mysteries when we
introspect ourselves vis-à-vis of the earth.