Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Knitting in Poetry

Ah, it is confession time~

In truth, I'm really a poet who has also been a long-time knitter.  I confess that my stash of yarn competes with my growing piles of literary journals and books of poetry.  I confess that I haven't knit in a long time and that, as I revise poetry on my Mac, I'm gazing up at the rows of multi-colored spines adorned with bright artwork and sometimes glittering titles.  And in between all these books is an assortment of some of the most gorgeous fall colored wool, mohair, llama, and cotton yarns, just waiting to be "published."  Er, "knitted to completion," rather.  

I confess that I will revise this post several times before I'm happy with it.

During my internet travels today I came across the following poem, which was translated by one of my favorite poets, Robert Bly. 

ODE TO MY SOCKS 

by Pablo Neruda

(Translated by 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 though into 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 tempation 
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.


Nuevas odas elementales, 1956 

Literally yours,

The Knit Chick


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