Shadows (Sombras)

Music piece by:
Rosario Sansores and Carlos Brito Benavides. Popularised in Chile by Lucho Barrios
Testimony by:
Juan Carlos de Luján Peralta Aranguiz

I arrived in this place as a war prisoner when I was 16 years old.

I was arrested on 17 September 1974 at the police station of Los Domínicos. On the 19th at two o’clock in the morning, I was taken to the Penitentiary of Santiago and in the afternoon, at about six pm, to the Blas Cañas Juvenile Prison.

In Blas Cañas, many of my mornings began listening to the song 'Shadows'. I didn’t know the song at the time. It wasn’t to my taste.

One of my cellmates always sang it. Sometimes, when I felt very lonely, I would ask him to sing it.

After three months, I regained freedom and went back for the last days of secondary school. I never knew what happened to my cellmates.

Many years later, now an adult and with a family, I walked alone through the short street of Blas Cañas.

I stopped, looked at the black gate and remembered the song once more, also my comrades and my mother who located me here, after 14 days of looking for me at other detention centres.

Then, I carried on walking with a few small and fleeting tears in my eyes.


Published on: 30 September 2019

When you will be gone
the shadows will envelop me
when you will be gone
I will be alone with my pain.

I will evoke this idyll
during my blue hours
when you will be gone
the shadows will envelop me.

And in the darkness
of the small bedroom
where during a warm afternoon
I stroked all of you.

My arms will look for you
my mouth will kiss you
and I will inhale from the air
that smell of roses.

When you will be gone
the shadows will envelop me.