Of winter, wool and socks


Pixie and Anna, the gallery cats, stand guard over the sock collection at Ibis.  We have provided them with an adjoining bed which usually prevents them from sleeping on the merchandise.

Felicity Davis is our tireless sock knitter. Made from mostly wool, with enough synthetic blended in to keep their shape and prevent sagging down, there is nothing that better keeps feet warm on cold winter days than these socks, and nothing as important as keeping feet warm. No matter how well muffled up,  cold feet spoil everything and make you miserable.

This seems a good time to post Pablo Neruda's sweet poem about a pair of hand-knitted socks which he loved.  And thanks to our friend Georgia Saunders for introducing me to this poem many years ago.

Ode To My Socks 

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 if they were 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 temptation

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.