woensdag 17 maart 2010

Ode to a pair of socks



Maru Mori brought me
a pair of socks
that she knit with her
shepherd's hands.
Two socks as soft
as rabbit fur.
I thrust my feet
inside them
as if they were
two little boxes
knit from threads
of sunset 
and sheepskin.
My feet were
two woolen fish
in those outrageous socks,
two gangly,
navy-blue sharks
impaled
on a golden thread,
two giant blackbirds,
two cannons:
thus were my feet
honored by
those heavenly socks.

They were
so beautiful
I found my feet
unlovable
for the very first time,
like two crusty old
firemen, firemen
unworthy
of that embroidered fire,
those incandescent socks.

Nevertheless
I fought the sharp temptation
to put them away
the way schoolboys put
fireflies in a bottle,
the way scholars 
hoard holy writ.
I fought the mad urge
to lock them
in a golden cage
and feed them birdseed
and morsels of pink melon 
every day.
Like jungle explorers
who deliver a young deer
of the rarest species
to the roasting spit
then wolf it down in shame,
I stretched my feet forward
and pulled on
those gorgeous socks,
and over them my shoes.

So this is the moral of my ode:
beauty is beauty twice over
and good things are doubly good
when you're talking about a pair of wool socks
in the dead of winter.

Pablo Neruda  from Odes to Common Things

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