Study Guide

Ode to My Socks Stanza 4

By Pablo Neruda

Stanza 4

Lines 79-80

So this is
the moral of my ode:

  • Aha! These lines tell us that the speaker has a point, in case you were wondering. The ode has a moral, as though it were a fable
  • Notice the colon at the end of line 80. This is a sort of dry punctuation mark, as far as punctuation marks go. It's not usually associated with a poetic, figurative style. It's like the poem, after landing us socked-and-shoed in the previous lines, is just going to lay the meaning out for us. What could it be?

Lines 81-87

twice beautiful
is beauty
and what is good doubly
when it is a case of two
woolen socks
in wintertime.

  • Whoa! Just when we thought we'd get the moral of the story in a nice, clear package, we get this crazy talk. The lesson of the poem, according to the speaker, is that beauty and goodness are doubly beautiful and good, when it comes to a pair of socks ('cause there are two of them—get it?).
  • The moral, then, is a tongue-in-cheek joke about how a pair of woolen socks in the wintertime is basically the definition of beauty and goodness. The joke part is that you'd expect a poem to find something a little loftier to epitomize beauty and goodness. But the serious part, and the moral, is that you don't have to go so far to find beauty and goodness. They're right in front of you.
  • If you've ever had cold feet (literally, not the wedding kind), you'll sympathize with the speaker's declaration that a pair of woolen socks in the winter really can't be beat. 
  • Also, for bonus points, look at the structure of the lines 81-84. This is called chiasmus, where the structure of the clause is reversed. The first clause goes: adverb, adjective, verb, subject, or "twice beautiful / is beauty." The second clause changes up that order: subject, adverb, adjective, or "and what is good doubly / good."
  • Did you notice that the second clause was missing the verb? For super-double-extra bonus points, this figure of speech is called prozeugma, where the verb of the first clause is omitted, but implied, in subsequent clauses. So even though "And what is good doubly / good" doesn't have an actual predicate verb, we know that the implied meaning is "And what is good / [is] doubly good." There. Don't you feel smarter now?

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