This is one of the poems recently discovered within the “jungle” of the Chilean Pablo Neruda’s manuscripts. The Nobel Prize winner (1904-1973) writes here with a visionary sympathy about the (intellectual!) male teenage psyche.

Then Come Back: the Lost Neruda Poems, translated by Forrest Gander, are published today in a Spanish-English dual language edition by Bloodaxe Books at £12.


Addled adolescence, sad and sweet,

quagmire of gloom

where leaves

and bodies tumble

with words,

hard blows and acid love,

an age like space,

rootless, open

and more unknown than the night,

dragging more stars than shadow.

Time rank with unreturned


with rocks under our feet and famished eyes,

with books life’s lessons are squeezed from

that – right over there –call us to notice though we don’t,

with Baudelaire perched like a raven on a shoulder

and Lautreamont howling scot-free in his coffin.

In this manner,

far from Garcilaso and his riverbanks

festooned with swan feathers

and so half-cursed, the unhinged,

breast-fed on literature,

carrying every darkness in their hands,

derelict and delirious, go

trudging step by step,

taking to the road,

searching out bread, home, and woman

as all men must.

NB: Lautreamont was a nineteenth-century French poet born in Uruguay; Garcilaso was an influential Spanish poet of the Shakespearean era.