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Poems About Clothes

Table of Contents

  1. My Old Clothes by Amos Russel Wells
  2. The Conspiracy of the Clothes by Amos Russel Wells
  3. Silk by John B. Tabb
  4. The September Gale by Oliver Wendell Holmes

  1. My Old Clothes

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I used to have a suit of clothes
    All rags and paint and dirt;
    What luxury it was to wear
    A suit I couldn't hurt!

    Secure within that wreck of cloth
    I grovelled on the ground;
    In garret, stable, garden, yard,
    Primeval bliss I found.

    It waxed familiar with the woods,
    The thickets, marshes, brooks;
    It carried rents and burrs and mud
    From all the forest nooks.

    I got down close to Mother Earth,
    My spirit seemed to root
    And spread its filaments and grow
    Within that mouldy suit

    But ah, my wife, in vandal mood,
    One hapless cleaning day,
    In valiant fit of tidiness,
    Gave my old suit away!

    And now I weed the garden walks
    At length of formal hoe,
    And keep within the proper paths
    When to the woods I go.

    I've lost the sense of sweet, warm dirt,
    The kinship with the ground;
    I must he careful of my clothes
    Whene'er I tinker 'round.

    I do not own a single suit
    But claims my constant care,
    No shred of blessed cloth that I
    Obliviously wear.

    Before my oldest suit is fit
    For either work or fun,
    A solemn year--at least a year--
    Must circumspectly run.

    O woman, woman! prim and neat,
    The flower of humankind,
    I'd not abate your daintiness
    And purity of mind;

    But oh, with heavenly perfectness
    Your graces will be girt,
    If you will let a happy man
    Just wallow in the dirt!

  2. The Conspiracy of the Clothes

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Mother called, and I called, and Father called, and Kate:
    "Johnny! Johnny!" "Get up, Johnny!" "John, get up! It's late!"
    Not a ripple, all our shouting, on the current of his dreams.
    Others, though, were lighter sleepers. Something else was roused, it seems.

    First a rustle, then a whisper, then a queer and muffled cry
    From the nook where Johnny's Jacket chanced in tumbled state to lie;
    Fie upon this lazy Johnny! Brother Clothes, observe the sun!
    Two full hours ago, believe me, was this glorious day begun!"

    Piped the cap from off the washstand, "Oh, the sky is blue and red!
    "What a joy to look up at it from the top of Johnny's head!"
    Groaned the shoes beneath the bureau, "Ah, the grass is cool and sweet!
    What a frolic with the clover were we once on Johnny's feet!"
    Socks and shirt and tie and trousers in indignant chorus cried,
    "It's a shame to make us lie here when the world's so fine outside!"

    "Friends," the socks cried, "let as punish this great sleepy, lazy lout.
    We, at least, when he does want us, will he found turned inside out!"
    Instantly the shirt assented, muttering with sarcastic cough.
    "I've a button, Master Johnny, which I fear is coming off!"
    And the shoestrings from the bureau added themselves to the plot;
    "When Sir Johnny goes to tie us he will find an ugly knot."
    Said the cap, I'll run and hide me The suspenders, old and thin,
    Threatened breaking, and the necktie innocently lost its pin.

    Thus they schemed and thus they plotted, till at length persistent Kate
    Woke up lazy Master Johnny at precisely half-past eight—
    And the school at nine! Young Johnny, half-shut eyes and sleepy face,
    Falls to dressing in a panic, at a most alarming pace.
    But the shirt sticks to his elbows as he tries to draw it on,
    And, in all his lifetime, never were the socks so hard to don.
    The suspenders break. A button impolitely takes its leave.
    Johnny's left arm gets acquainted with the right-arm jacket sleeve.
    The shoestrings knot and tangle, and unseasonably snap.
    And "Oh, mother, where's my Reader?" and "Oh, mother, where's my cap?"
    There's a hurry and a worry and a grumble and a fret,
    And a very scanty breakfast is the best that he can get.

    "I do wonder," thought young Johnny, stumbling, tardy, to his place
    In the midst of tittering schoolmates, with a very sheepish face,
    "What's the reason all goes wrong when a chap has overslept?"
    But he never understood it, for the clothes their secret kept.

  3. Silk

    by John B. Tabb

    'Twas the shroud of many a worm-like thing
    That rose from its tangled skein;
    'Twas the garb of many a god-like king
    Who went to the worms again.

  4. The September Gale

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    I'm not a chicken; I have seen
    Full many a chill September,
    And though I was a youngster then,
    That gale I well remember;
    The day before, my kite-string snapped,
    And I, my kite pursuing,
    The wind whisked off my palm-leaf hat;—
    For me two storms were brewing!

    It came as quarrels sometimes do,
    When married folks get clashing;
    There was a heavy sigh or two,
    Before the fire was flashing,—
    A little stir among the clouds,
    Before they rent asunder,—
    A little rocking of the trees,
    And then came on the thunder.

    Lord! how the ponds and rivers boiled,
    And how the shingles rattled!
    And oaks were scattered on the ground,
    As if the Titans battled;
    And all above was in a howl,
    And all below a clatter,—
    The earth was like a frying-pan.
    Or some such hissing matter.

    It chanced to be our washing-day,
    And all our things were drying:
    The storm came roaring through the lines,
    And set them all a-flying;
    I saw the shirts and petticoats
    Go riding off like witches;
    I lost, ah! bitterly I wept,—
    I lost my Sunday breeches!

    I saw them straddling through the air,
    Alas! too late to win them;
    I saw them chase the clouds, as if
    The devil had been in them;
    They were my darlings and my pride,
    My boyhood's only riches,—
    "Farewell, farewell," I faintly cried,—
    "My breeches! O my breeches!"

    That night I saw them in my dreams,
    How changed from what I knew them!
    The dews had steeped their faded threads,
    The winds had whistled through them!
    I saw the wide and ghastly rents
    Where demon claws had torn them;
    A hole was in their amplest part,
    As if an imp had worn them.

    I have had many happy years
    And tailors kind and clever,
    But those young pantaloons have gone
    Forever and forever!
    And not till fate has cut the last
    Of all my earthly stitches,
    This aching heart shall cease to mourn
    My loved, my long-lost breeches!

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