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!

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