Study Guide

Ode to My Socks Stanza 1

By Pablo Neruda

Stanza 1

Lines 1-5

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
knitted with her own
shepherd's hands,

  • Wow, this brings back memories of some disappointing Christmas mornings! These lines are pretty straightforward, and tell us what the whole poem is about: someone named Maru Mori (see "Shout-Outs" for more on her) brought the speaker some homemade socks.
  • The speaker calls Maru's hands "shepherd's hands," using something called the descriptive genitive, which is basically when you use a possessive noun (shepherd's) as an adjective (describes "hands"). The effect of calling the reader's attention to Maru's shepherd's hands is a link between the socks (probably woolen), their maker, Maru, and their source, sheep. 
  • Pass the granola—it's a hippie gift exchange!

Lines 6-7

two socks soft
as rabbits.

  • These lines compare the new socks to bunnies in a simile, because they're nice and soft. This keeps up our connection to the earth after the sheep reference in the previous lines. (You can read about our furry friends in the "Animal Imagery" section.)
  • What's more, you might have noticed that the poem has really, really short lines. This breaking up of the sentences into poetic lines is called enjambment.
  • Here it does a good job of showing off the internal rhyme in the words "socks soft," since it puts the two words in a short line, isolated from the rest of the poem. (For more on things like rhyme and rhythm, check out the "Form and Meter" section.) Also, putting those rhyming words right next to each other seems almost purposefully simple. This is definitely not one of those over-the-top, hard-to-understand poems.

Lines 8-16

I slipped
my feet into them
as if
jewel cases
with threads of
and sheep's wool.

  • Now we get another action. The speaker sticks his/her stinky feet (okay, we don't know how they smell, nor it is clear whether our speaker is a guy or a gal) into these brand-new socks.
  • Another simile is used to describe the act of putting on socks, and this time it compares them to jewel cases. Sheesh! This speaker thinks really highly of his/her feet.
  • The sock-jewel cases are then described as magically being made out of "threads of / dusk / and sheep's wool." Whereas up until now the images have been pretty easy to swallow, the socks are taking on some mystical properties here. Dusk still connects us with the earth, but it is highly improbable that the socks are literally made out of dusk. (Look at the "Light and Dark Imagery" section to read more about this.)

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