“Ode To My Socks” by Pablo Neruda

This is my new favorite poem. I felt so much joy in my little heart when I discovered this poem the other day. Not just because it’s wonderful in its own right, but the main reason is that it makes me so happy to have found someone else who feels the same way as I do about a really great pair of socks. The older I get the more I realize that it’s the little things in life that truly matter, and that no thing of beauty or thing that brings us joy, should be kept to oneself— or in a cage of any kind.


Ode To My Socks

Maru Mori brought me

a pair

of socks

which she knitted herself

with her sheep-herder’s hands,

two socks as soft

as rabbits.

I slipped my feet

into them

as though into

two

cases

knitted

with threads of

twilight

and goatskin.

Violent socks,

my feet were

two fish made

of wool,

two long sharks

seablue, shot

through

by one golden thread,

two immense blackbirds,

two cannons,

my feet

were honered

in this way

by

these

heavenly

socks.

They were

so handsome

for the first time

my feet seemed to me

unacceptable

like two decrepit

firemen, firemen

unworthy

of that woven

fire,

of those glowing

socks.


Nevertheless

I resisted

the sharp temptation

to save them somewhere

as students

keep

fireflies,

as learned men

collect

sacred texts,

I resisted

the mad impulse

to put them

in a golden

cage

and each day give them

birdseed

and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers

in the jungle who hand

over the very rare

green deer

to the spit

and eat it

with remorse,

I stretched out

my feet

and pulled on

the

magnificent

socks

and

then my shoes.

The moral

of my ode is this:

beauty is twice

beauty

and what is good is doubly

good

when it is a matter of two socks

made of wool

in winter.

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