Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pablo Neruda's Ode to My Socks

Pablo Neruda has some of the most beautiful poems, but this is one I hadn't come across before. As a sock knitter, I can appreciate it even more. Look  further down the page for the original Spanish version.

Ode to My Socks (trans. Robert Bly)

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.



Oda a Los Calcetines

Me trajo Mara Mori
un par de calcetines
que tejió con sus manos de pastora,
dos calcetines suaves como liebres.
En ellos metí los pies
como en dos estuches
tejidos con hebras del
crepúsculo y pellejos de ovejas.

Violentos calcetines,
mis pies fueron dos pescados de lana,
dos largos tiburones
de azul ultramarino
atravesados por una trenza de oro,
dos gigantescos mirlos,
dos cañones:
mis pies fueron honrados de este modo
por estos celestiales calcetines.

Eran tan hermosos que por primera vez
mis pies parecieron inaceptables,
como dos decrépitos bomberos,
bomberos indignos de aquel fuego bordado,
de aquellos luminosos calcetines.

Sin embargo, resistí la tentación
aguda de guardarlos como los colegiales preservan sus luciérnagas,
como los eruditos coleccionan
documentos sagrados,
resistí el impulso furioso de ponerlos
en una jaula de oro y darles cada
dia alpiste y pulpa de melón rosado.

Como descubridores que en la selva
entregan el rarísimo venado verde
al asador y se lo comen con remordimiento,
estiré los pies y me enfundé
los bellos calcetines y luego los zapatos.

Y es esta la moral de mi Oda:
Dos veces es belleza la belleza,
y lo que es bueno es doblemente bueno,
cuando se trata de dos calcetines
de lana en el invierno.

1 comment:

  1. I can so identify with this poem :) The feeling of pulling on gorgeous soft,soft socks for the first time. The dread of putting on shoes to cover them up and wear them away! But the idea of putting them in a cage and feeding them melon - fantastic!!!

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