Godfrey Rust

(London, England)

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The Place Where Socks Go


There's a place where socks go
when the washing is done
and the driers have dried
and the spinners have spun
and it's past eight o'clock
and there's no one about
and the launderette's locked—
then the odd socks come out.

There is hosiery here
of each pattern and hue—
some plain, striped or spotted,
some black, red or blue—
some worn only once,
some so old they have formed
to exactly the shape
of the foot they once warmed—

some were brought back from Sock Shops
in airports in France,
some were hideous presents
from matronly aunts—
but in all their variety
one thing is shared:
to the place where socks go
they will not go pre-paired.

Then the odd socks remaining
are placed in the chest
(They must turn up sometime
now where was that vest...?)
and new socks come at Christmas
and birthdays bring more
and the old lie, alone,
at the back of the drawer.

And maybe, one evening
when memory is low,
they too slip away
to the place where socks go
and in silent reunion,
each one with its pair,
they join in the dance
with the other things there—

the letters unanswered,
the calls not returned,
the promises broken,
the lessons not learned,
the lost afternoons,
the appointments unmade,
the best of intentions,
the debts never paid,

and the friends not kept up
and the others let down—
in the ragbag of conscience
they waltz sadly round,
beyond the respite
of the washing machine,
no amount of detergent
can now get them clean

till that day when all laundry
is washed white as snow,
and everyone's tumbled
and soft soap must go,
when nothing is hidden
but all is revealed
and socks shall be holy
and souls shall be healed.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Edited: Friday, January 27, 2012

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Comments about this poem (The Place Where Socks Go by Godfrey Rust )

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  • Paul Reed (1/24/2014 3:42:00 AM)

    Absolutely top drawer peom, full of humour, great rhymes and a touch of melancholy. (Report) Reply

  • Alistair Graham (1/24/2014 2:53:00 AM)

    Fifty Sheets of Grey


    I put my neck
    on the line for you

    You put your lingerie
    on the line for me

    but obscured it
    with your discoloured

    bed linen (Report) Reply

  • Dan Reynolds (1/24/2014 2:40:00 AM)

    A definite dilemna which all of us have feared,
    Now, I only buy black ankle socks, and the problems disappeared! ; ¬)
    Gret poem Godfrey.
    Danny (Report) Reply

  • Marilyn Lott (1/26/2012 2:16:00 PM)

    I love this, your wonderful humor and style for anyone at any age!

    Warm Wishes,
    Marilyn (Report) Reply

  • Philippa Lane (5/2/2009 11:34:00 AM)

    A great poem, so well written. As a reader, I found it hilarious! I shall never look at socks in the same way again... (Report) Reply

  • Stephen Stirk (2/20/2009 6:39:00 AM)

    Hi Godfrey
    Your poetry was recommended to be Wojja. I particularly enjoyed this poem, and your others. I always go for diversity of subject matter. Your poem has that in abundance. I'm new on this site, and just feeling my way around. I have put a couple of items in the forum. Waiting for a reponse is like trying to drink bricks. Look me up some time
    Steve (Report) Reply

Read all 12 comments »

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