Celebrate Everyday Joys with Pablo Neruda's Charming Poem 'Ode to My Socks'

Celebrate Everyday Joys with Pablo Neruda's Charming Poem 'Ode to My Socks'

Monday, 9 January, 2023

Oh, the comfort of a just-right pair of socks. They’re often hand-knitted, sometimes stylish, frequently cozy, usually matching, generally underappreciated, and seldom celebrated.

But if a Grecian urn, the Western wind, a nightingale, and that old curmedgeon dejection can be honored with words of poetry, socks can, too.

In his 1956 ode to these ordinary, everyday objects that we literally crush under our feet, Pablo Neruda — the Nobel-Prize-winning, Chilean poet-diplomat word-wizard — reminds us of the simple pleasure of unremarkable-extraordinary things. And, by extension, the joy to be found in the everyday.


Ode to My Socks — 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
  • two
  • cases
  • knitted
  • with threads of
  • twilight
  • and goatskin.
  • Violent socks,
  • my feet were
  • two fish made
  • of wool,
  • two long sharks
  • sea-blue, shot
  • through
  • by one golden thread,
  • two immense blackbirds,
  • two cannons:
  • my feet
  • were honored
  • 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 schoolboys
  • keep
  • fireflies,
  • as learned men
  • collect
  • sacred texts,
  • I resisted
  • the mad impulse
  • to put them
  • into 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.

Psst… The sock maker Maru Mori, referenced at the beginning of the poem, was the wife and muse of Pablo Neruda’s friend Camilo Muri, a Chilean painter.

Top image courtesy of Jonathan Taylor/Unsplash.

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