What are the poetic devices (figurative language) in the poem "Ode to my Socks"?  How do they contribute to the meaning of the poem?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The very first line, “Maru Mori brought me,” sets a rhythm to the poem through the repetition of “m” and “r,” which seem to roll, not unlike the sounds of the entire poem. No specific rhythm dominates, but sounds link lines together, creating an inner beat.  The abundant presence of l’s and h’s and oo’s in the first stanza, for example, give the sense of luxury, contrasting with mundane topic of “socks,” a word itself consisting of pleasant sibilants of the “s” undermined by the vigor of the hard “k.” The poem uses images that appeal to the senses, such as  “soft as rabbits”  and “two knitted cases.”  Note here also the parallelism in structure that imitates the nature of the socks (always a pair).  This follows with the metaphor of “with threads of twilight and goatskin.”  Twilight and goatskin again contrast with each other (one ethereal and gentle, the other concrete and rough), reflecting the main idea of the poem concerning the beauty in something simple and useful.

bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poet also uses a series of images to describe how his feet feel when he puts on the socks. His feet become woolen fish, like two blue sharks. His feet also become two huge blackbirds and two cannons. These metaphors call attention to how extraordinary the socks are that they could transform his feet into such objects. To describe how unworthy his feet are to be wearing the socks, he describes his feet as two old firefighters, afraid that his plain feet will put out the fire of the socks.