Sunday, January 04, 2009

Socks and some verse

Pattern: Sailors Rib Socks from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Knitpicks Essential
Needles: Clover Bamboo DPN's size 2
Result: I'm pretty happy with the socks in the end, not so much with the Essential yarn. It fuzzes up like crazy! When I started I knit a gauge swatch, frogged it and then started the first sock. That beginning was so fuzzy and pilly I cut it off and started all over with yarn that hadn't been used for the swatch. I realize it's great that Knitpicks can offer wool sock yarn at such a bargain, but this might be a bargain I'll just pass up next time. I'd rather pay more and have yarn that doesn't pill. Especially for socks and especially for socks that are meant to be a birthday gift for someone I love, like these.

This week I was listening to an old episode of the Knitpicks Podcast on Knitting in Literature. Kelley Petkun opened by reading An Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda. I remembered I had first read this poem in high school and I don't think I have read or heard it since then. Now, when I went to high school I went to a school outside my district so I could attend a really good magnet program for Performing Arts. My focus, believe it or not, was creative writing. I've always known that during those four years, taking extra hours of my school day to just focus on writing that well, honestly, I know I wrote a lot of bad poetry during that time. I was a teenager, into college rock and goth music, let's face it, adolescence is just ripe to be a breeding ground for bad poetry. But listening to Kelley read that poem I realized that you know, during those years I also read a lot of very, very good poetry too. And I should be respectful of that. Like this poem. And it all came back to me and I just keep reading this poem over and over and wondering why am I not reading poetry every day because it really can be so, so wonderful. The truth is that reading this poem over now that I'm a knitter, and a sock knitter it has very special reverberations for me. How amazing is it that one of the greatest poets that ever lived chose to write a poem about of all things, his hand knit socks. You have to admit, I does speak a great deal for hand knit socks. They really are just this wonderful.

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
little boxes
from threads
of sunset
and sheepskin.

My feet were
two woolen
in those outrageous socks,
two gangly,
navy-blue sharks
on a golden thread,
two giant blackbirds,
two cannons:
were my feet
They were
so beautiful
I found my feet
for the very first time,
like two crusty old
firemen, firemen
of that embroidered
those incandescent

I fought
the sharp temptation
to put them away
the way schoolboys
fireflies in a bottle,
the way scholars
holy writ.
I fought
the mad urge
to lock them
in a golden
and feed them birdseed
and morsels of pink melon
every day.
Like jungle
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
and over them
my shoes.

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


Cotton Socks said...

nice work!

tmjackson said...

Thank you so much for sharing that poem! It's lovely to hear the gratitude for knitted items expressed so beautifully, and to know that great poets receive and appreciate them.

Jodi said...

I love that poem! It only gets better upon re-reading, which in my book is the true test of poetry.

Nice socks, and too bad about the Knitpicks yarn. I think I'll steer clear. All of my Regia socks are holding up marvelously, but many of my fancy indie-dyer merino socks are getting holey.