Robert Kirkland Kernighan
The Socks My Mother Knit - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan
The mother of the Khan doth dwell
Two thousand wintry miles away ;
But O, she do n't forget, for he
Received by mail some socks, to-day ;
Knit by the tender hands which led
His footsteps in his childhood's dawn ;
The tears stood in his grateful eyes :
He kissed the socks then put them on.
These socks were made of wool that grew
Upon the backs of sheep that ran
Upon the hills that early knew
The immature, bare-footed Khan.
He knows those sheep, and they know him ;
They 'd ever come when he called ' Nan !'
And, like the lamb that Mary had,
They 'd fondly follow after Khan.
This wool was spun upon the wheel
That little wheel of ancient make ;
And nothing, sir, can happen which
Can from his mind its memory take.
And o'er the storm he hears the wheel :
Its scolding, pettish, breezy purr
He hears his mother sing, and hears
The wheel join in and sing with her.
And thus the Khan dreams on of home,
Until, disturb'd by blizzard shocks,
He wakes and writes, ' Dear mother : Please
To send another pair of socks !'
The little cannons round him grin :
The old, historic building quakes ;
The snow, insidious, drifteth in ;
The table that he writes on shakes ;
And with his mind's eye can be seen
This place with Red men all astir !
The fine barbarians that have been,
Each with his pack of costly fur ;
But he can say 't will do no harm :
The pleasant compliment will fit
No beaver skin was half so warm
As these dear socks his mother knit.
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