Ode to a Row

Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda

Maru Mori brought me a pair of socks knitted with her own shepherd’s hands, two socks soft as rabbits.  I slipped my feet into them as if into jewel cases woven with threads of dusk and sheep’s wool.  Audacious socks, my feet became two woolen fish, two long sharks of lapis blue shot with a golden thread, two mammoth blackbirds, two cannons, thus honored were my feet by these celestial socks.  They were so beautiful that for the first time my feet seemed unacceptable to me, two tired old fire fighters not worthy of the woven fire of those luminous socks.  Nonetheless, I resisted the strong temptation to save them the way schoolboys bottle fireflies, the way scholars hoard sacred documents.  I resisted the wild impulse to place them in a cage of gold and daily feed them birdseed and rosy melon flesh.  Like explorers who in the forest surrender a rare and tender deer  to the spit and eat it with remorse, I stuck out my feet and pulled on the handsome socks, and then my shoes.  

So this is the moral of my odes:  twice beautiful is beauty and what is good is doubly good when it is a case of two woolen socks in wintertime.



Love’s Labour’s Lost

My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love; Thy grace, being gain’d, cures all disgrace in me


KNITTING SOCKS   ~ War Poems ~ November 27, 1861 ~

 CLICK, click! how the needles go through the busy fingers, to and fro–
With no bright colors of berlin wool, delicate hands today are full:
Only a yarn of deep, dull blue, socks for the feet of the brave and true.
Yet click, click, how the needles go, ‘tis a power within that nerves them so.
In the sunny hours of the bright spring day, and still in the night time far away.  Maiden, mother, grandame sit earnest and thoughtful while they knit.  Many the silent prayers they pray, many the tear drops brushed away.   While busy on the needles go, widen and narrow, heel and toe. The grandame thinks with a thrill of pride how her mother knit and spun beside for that patriot band in olden days who died the Stars and Stripes to raise–
Now she in turn knits for the brave who’d die that glorious flag to save.  She is glad, she says, ”the boys” have gone, ‘tis just as their grandfathers would have done.
But she heaves a sigh and the tears will start, for “the boys” were the pride of grandame’s heart.  The mother’s look is calm and high,
God only hears her soul’s deep cry– In Freedom’s name, at Freedom’s call, she gave her sons–in them her all.  The maiden’s cheek wears a paler shade.  But the light in her eyes is undismayed.  Faith and hope give strength to her sight, she sees a red dawn after the night.
Oh, soldiers brave, will it brighten the day, and shorten the march on the weary way, to know that at home the loving and true
Are knitting and hoping and praying for your soft are the voices when speaking your name, proud are their glories when hearing your fame.
And the gladdest hour in their lives will be when they greet you after the victory.



Winter ~ January 1, 2010

You swirl and dance outside my window.  While falling down you push back up.                        The wind blows you east and west, tirelessly you continue to dance beautiful, glorious, and free.  You tempt me and tease me to follow you outside.  You make me smile with your daring moves.  I know your time here is precious and short.  When the spring comes your moves will keep swirling in my mind pushing me back up.


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