Ode to Socks by Pablo Neruda (Pocket Poem)


Ode to Socks
by Pablo Neruda

Mara Mori brought me
A pair of socks
that she wove with her shepherdess hands,
two socks soft as rabbits.
I put my feet in them
like in two cases
woven with threads of
twilight and sheep-skin.

Violent socks,
my feet were two woolen fish
two long sharks
of sea blue
pierced with one golden plait,
two gigantic blackbirds,
two cannons
my feet were honored in this way
by these celestial socks.

They were so handsome that for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable,
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that embroidered fire,
those luminous socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp
temptation to keep them as schoolboys preserve fireflies,
as the scholars collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the furious impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each
day give them birdseed and the pulp of pink melon.

Like discoverers that in the forest
hand over the rarest green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse
I stretched my feet and sheathed them in
those beautiful socks and then my shoes.

And the moral of my Ode is this:
the beauty is twice the beauty
and what is good is doubly good,
when it is a question of two socks
of wool in winter.


Translation © 2007 Rob Fletcher

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