Emerging by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Pablo Neruda

Here – in an English translation – is a poem by Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973).

As for this poem, Emerging, its words have been part of my life for more than a decade. A “random” connection sent me in search of it, on a day when I needed to read it again, and again.


A man says yes without knowing
how to decide even what the question is,
and is caught up, and then is carried along
and never again escapes from his own cocoon;
and that’s how we are, forever falling
into the deep well of other beings;
and one thread wraps itself around our necks,
another entwines a foot, and then it is impossible,
impossible to move except in the well –
nobody can rescue us from other people.

It seems as if we don’t know how to speak;
it seems as if there are words which escape,
which are missing, which have gone away and left us
to ourselves, tangled up in snares and threads.

And all at once, that’s it; we no longer know
what it’s all about, but we are deep inside it,
and now we will never see with the same eyes
as once we did when we were children playing.
Now these eyes are closed to us,
Now our hands emerge from different arms.

And therefore when you sleep, you are alone in your dreaming,
and running freely through the corridors
of one dream only, which belongs to you.
Oh never let them come to steal our dreams,
never let them entwine us in our bed.
Let us hold on to the shadows
to see if, from our own obscurity,
we emerge and grope along the walls,
lie in wait for the light, to capture it,
till, once and for all time,
it becomes our own, the sun of every day.

© Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda, from the collection “Extravagaria”



  1. says

    Have not read Neruda in several years. And am looking very forward to sitting down with this and a pencil and trying to unwind it all. And not unwinding most of it. But being very comforted by those little strands I am able to find.

  2. Pete says

    So glad I found this poem. I read a lot of poetry in search of one that gives me goosebumps. This one certainly does. Thanks for putting it out there.

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