Thursday, December 10, 2020

Poetry on Thursday

It's been chilly here this week, and I seem to have a very narrow temperature range in which I'm comfortable. Unfortunately, John's comfort range is much warmer than mine, but we do agree that the house needs to be cool to sleep well at night. I woke up at 3:00 am with my feet freezing and when I put on a darned but warm pair of alpaca socks, I was able to slip blissfully back into sleep. When I woke up the next morning I was busy singing the praises of my socks to John, and that reminded me of this poem. 

Pearls of Wisdom socks - socks with Neruda's poem knit into them in the original Spanish. 

Ode to My Socks
by Pablo Neruda

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft
as rabbits.
I slipped my feet
into them
as though into
with threads of
and goatskin.
Violent socks,
my feet were
two fish made
of wool,
two long sharks
sea-blue, shot
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons:
my feet
were honored
in this way
They were
so handsome
for the first time
my feet seemed to me
like two decrepit
firemen, firemen
of that woven
of those glowing

I resisted
the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere
as schoolboys
as learned men
sacred texts,
I resisted
the mad impulse
to put them
into a golden
and each day give them
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
and then my shoes.

The moral
of my ode is this:
beauty is twice
and what is good is doubly
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool
in winter.

"Ode to My Socks" from Neruda & Vallejo: Selected Poems, by Pablo Neruda and translated by Robert Bly (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993).
You can read more about the poet here

I wish you mindfulness, peace, good health, warm socks on your feet and on your needles, and some poetry as this week winds down.


  1. I love this poem (actually, I love almost everything Neruda wrote!) But those socks! Oh my! They are gorgeous! And I wholeheartedly agree... "what is good is doubly good when it is a matter of two socks made of wool in winter" AMEN!

  2. I've always loved this poem, too, especially that the moral of it is to wear hand-knit socks even though they seem like such a luxury! Like you, I run colder than my significant other (and as he pays the power bill, he also controls the thermostat). I could not get through the winter without my knit socks!

  3. I SO love this poem. :-) And those socks are just awesome.
    That said, I hate wearing socks and shoes (my feet don't like feeling "trapped;" I know it's weird). I struggle in the winter, and generally break down and put on socks in the house. But as soon as my feet warm up? The toes come out again. (I can't imagine wearing socks in bed. My feet would FREAK out. . . )

  4. oooh, I'll bet those alpaca socks are toasty in the bed ... together with that poem "doubly good" :-)

  5. That poem is the perfect tribute to hand knit socks!

  6. I've never seen this poem about wool socks - it's lovely!

  7. I love this poem and remember reading it a number of years ago. I need to pull out my book of Neruda poetry (one Colin gave me). This winter I've already had a number of nights when I've woken up with cold feet and have grabbed a pair of hand knit socks to put on. I used to not be able to tolerate socks in bed...but now? I love them! (Guessing my hot flash days are over and done with - lol)

  8. THat poem! Those socks! I love both of them. I run very cold all winter, and I have been miserable already since I have Reynaud's. My exercise buddy says my feet and hands look like those of a dead person. She's right, they do, but I am more concerned about how they feel. I love alpaca, but I have never knit socks from them. It seems they would really bag out, but I bet they would make great bed socks. Thanks for this post, Bonny. I wish all the same things for you.

  9. How lovely that poem is! My feet are usually freezing as we go to bed. I have a pair of knitted acrylic slippers I wear then. THis reminds me, I have a new pair of socks, I have not worn yet!

  10. What a great poem and I love those socks! So often my feet are colder than the rest of me, so I like to sleep in a pair of wool bed socks.

    1. The feeling of having toasty warm feet on a cold morning is truly wonderful! I'm savoring that feeling this morning while drinking my tea and watching the birds at the feeder while it's 25 outside.

  11. I used to be freezing cold but now I'm regular. My husband used to be hot and now he is the cold one. Finally a poem about knitting! I wish you peace and mindfulness :)

  12. I just started myself a new pair of socks. Interesting poem Bonny - thank-you for that! Have a nice weekend and stay warm my friend!

  13. I have always loved this poem. It just goes to show no subject is too humble for a poem.


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