Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Toad's Favourite Poem ~ Kim Nelson

Recently embarking on a minimalist path, I re-read this familiar Neruda piece and felt a new message and meaning. Entitled "Ode to My Socks,"  the poem is essentially an ode to the perfection and value of NOW, a declaration regarding the beauty and function of the ordinary. It is now a new favourite of mine. I hope you share my appreciation.




Ode to My Socks
by Pablo Neruda

Mara 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 if they were 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
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.

Editorial Note:
Pablo Neruda was the pen name of the Chilean writer and communist politician Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971 and is the author of The Heights of Macchu Picchu and World's End.

21 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

I continue to be amazed and inspired by the range of Neruda's poetry and his use of imaginative and creative language. Thank you for sharing this marvellous example with us, Kim.

Mama Zen said...

This is the side of Neruda that doesn't receive as much attention. Thanks for sharing, Kim!

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

Like you, every time I read or re-read something by Neruda I'm impressed even more by his insight and creativeness. Thank you for sharing Kim

Susan said...

In my HS teaching days, students read this and then wrote an image-filled ode to one of their own favorite things. Many were on cell phones. Sigh. Neruda's ode is a splendid thing!

Herotomost said...

How cool is a poem about socks that is as good as that one is....loved it.

Grace said...

You know I adore his writing, and this one wonderfully resonates with me ~ I have read all of his Odes and it amazes me what he can write about everday stuff like socks ~

Thanks Kim ~

Mary said...

What a beautiful share, Kim.

Loredana Donovan said...

Wonderful poem by Neruda. Such creative and inspiring language celebrating the everyday ... things that might otherwise be taken for granted. And the love and appreciation expressed here of such a thoughtful handmade gift ..
. priceless. Loved it. Thanks for sharing, Kim :)

Kay L. Davies said...

Neruda is so right. If we're given beautiful things, we shouldn't hide them away. We should use them, and be proud of them, especially
"when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter."
A wonderful choice for a new favourite poem, Kim.
K

Gail said...

I love this poem. I have owned things as precious.

Margaret said...

A poem that relishes and celebrates making the ordinary "marvelous". Love it!

Ella said...

Wonderful Kim! Amy introduced me to Neruda and I am forever grateful~

I love all that you shared! It contains a magical message~ :D

Great pick Kim! Thank you~

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this poem. It reminds me of one of my alternative friends, who lived off the grid in a yurt in the forest and had very little cash. He made the careful purchase of a woollen hat one winter and enjoyed it more actively than many wealthier people would a new car! Very cool poem, Kim.

Outlawyer said...

This is also one of my favorite poems ever. I don't know too much Neruda, but happen to know it. I wear wool socks day and night, winter and summer. (Honestly) So it is a poem I can much appreciate. This is Karin, Manicddaily.wordpress. k.

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

This was a first read for me, too. Beauty comes in many forms; you can even say it with socks!

I first learned about Neruda when I saw the film "Il Postino". Great segment on metaphors!

Susie Clevenger said...

I love Pablo Neruda. His poetry can make the everyday a thing of wonder. Thanks so much for sharing Kim!!

Akila G said...

Lovely piece! thanks for sharing Kim!

Lolamouse said...

Great choice, Kim! I love how Neruda can elevate socks to such a level! It's a good reminder to enjoy the beautiful and not try to lock it away for keeps.

Marian said...

so appreciate this, Kim. thanks.

Hannah said...

Thank you, Kim!! Inspiring work. :)

grapeling said...

exquisite choice, Kim ~ M