Ode to My Socks

by Pablo Neruda

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In "Ode to my Socks," how does the author feel about the socks he received as a gift ?

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In Neruda's poem, the speaker feels humbled and deeply moved by the socks Mara Mori gave him. Neruda's poetry often celebrates the voice of the common person, and he seems especially to value these socks because an ordinary woman knit them herself with her "sheepherder's hands."

He describes them as:

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He describes them as:

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

Neruda takes a moment in this poem to dwell on the joy of receiving a simple handmade gift. The narrator asks us not to overlook the small things in life—even socks—because if we stop to think about them, they are miracles. His speaker finds a rare and precious quality in these wool socks and writes that

I resisted the mad impulse to put them/ in a golden cage and each day give them/ birdseed and pieces of pink melon.

It's a gift to be able to experience ecstasy over a pair of socks. Like Wordsworth, who could be filled with joy by the sight of thousands of daffodils dancing in the wind, Neruda models for us how to find a kind of deep happiness, not in money or prestige, but in taking time to notice all the beauty that surrounds us in everyday moments. He is sincere, not ironic, in his appreciation of life's offerings.

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This amazing poem contains so many excellent examples of imagery as the speaker conveys his delight with his gift in a bewildering array of descriptions that test the limits of language as he struggles to find ever more superlative descriptions capable of conveying his joy and happiness. Consider how the speaker says that his feet "were honoured in this way by these heavenly socks." Describing the socks as "heavenly" clearly describes his joy and thoughts about these socks, as does the way in which he says his feet were "honoured" by these socks. Consider too the following quote:

They were

so handsome

for the first time

my feet seemed to me


like two decrepit

firemen, firemen


of that woven


of those glowing


Descrbing his feet as firemen who are "unworthy" of the fire in his "glowing / socks" again helps to reinforce the impression that he is absolutely delighted by this gift and that the socks are very beautiful and important to him. The speaker obviously feels very strongly about his socks and prizes them as a very special gift.

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