by: Jean Starr Untermeyer (1886-1970)

      INCE the earliest days I have dressed myself
      In fanciful clothes;
      Trying to satisfy a whispering insistence.
      There was so much I dared not give
      To speech or act;
      So I put romance and fantasy
      Into my raiment.
      In that dreamy girlhood
      My clothes were like my thoughts;
      Vague and sentimental.
      They were of misty greens
      And faded lavenders;
      Like cloudy colors in entangled woods,
      Like the budding thoughts of a young girl.
      Later on when womanhood came,
      And Motherhood sat consciously on me,
      I essayed the dignified and noble
      In a trailing gown of gray.
      But Spring came,
      And with it a dress of juicy green
      And tricky yellows,
      With darts of black,
      Like bare twigs showing through the bright leaves.
      After a while I revelled in the sophistication
      Of a gown of black;
      Cut low, swirling in worldly curves.
      And once I dared the long line of the siren
      In a gown of weird brocade.
      But these things have not silenced the whispers.
      Something urgent wants a tongue.
      My clothes are not me, myself;
      Something real escapes in the translation of color and fabric.
      I think I should go naked into the streets,
      And wander unclothed into people's parlors.
      The incredulous eyes of the bewildered world
      Might give me back my true image. . . .
      Maybe in the glances of others
      I would find out what I really am.

"Clothes" is reprinted from Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1916. Ed. William Stanley Braithwaite. New York: Laurence J. Gomme, 1916.




[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Home · Poetry Store · Links · Email · © 2002