Tuesday, 17 May 2022

The Place Where Socks Go.

On a wet Wednesday afternoon, I was tidying my sock drawer, and I suddenly remembered this poem by poet and songwriter Godfrey Rust. 
It was the first poem in a book of the same name, which I owned 30 years ago. I think the book has gone to that place as well now...

There's a place where socks go when the washing is done

when the driers have dried and the spinners have spun
when 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.


  1. I think some of mine are there.

  2. Lovely poem. Our odd socks hang on an airier next to the washing machine, waiting to be paired up!

    1. How long do they wait before you decide their other half is lost forever?

  3. That is just wonderful, I have seen snippets of it before but never the whole poem.

    1. I think it was written over a period of time and verses added in, which might explain why you have seen snippets

  4. A brilliant poem which I will share with DDIL, as over the years I have helped with folding laundry and there have been numbers of unmatched socks of all sizes and colours. I maintained that their partners were in a parallel universe somewhere, but I did once read that they turned into unmatched Tupperware lids!

    1. And I thought the socks were somewhere in those lidless tupperware boxes!

  5. I am finding on my phone that the Comment box does not appear on my phone unless there are already published comments on there. So I'm here to comment on the 13m long table! That is incredible!!! Oak is an amazing wood!! And how beautiful that wood is!
    I can now comment on this poem too which is really lovely!

    1. Thanks for your comments. I don't understand why it is sometimes impossible to share them either! Yes the table is amazing, and the poem is clever

  6. That's a lovely poem, but, it made me feel sad, especially the part about the letters unanswered, etc. :( I have one partnerless sock, in my drawer, right now - I usually turn them into catnip toys for Dancer.

    1. I guess it's always sad when something is incomplete (a partnership, a project or a correspondence) Making cat toys is a good use for singleton-socks. I have an odd sock here waiting to be turned into a glove puppet for the grandchildren


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!