In my youth there were no carpets
only floors of hard-pressed earth,
the furniture rough hewn, uncouth
the bed that gave me birth.
Do sit, they say, and wave a hand
at some upholstered easy chair,
but something deeper has me stand
as if to sit betrayed a care
I have for yester-year and makes
it seem a treachery of sorts
to be as one who easily partakes
of softer habits, cushioned thoughts.
The shoulds and oughts of worsted suits
fit looser now than in my youth,
the discipline of uncracked boots
less needed now to stiffen truth,
but warmth in winter, cold in June,
electric light to greet the dawn
and easy chairs in the afternoon,
seem impudent to me, a kind of scorn
for ways that owned not comfort or despair
and sought not feather bed or easy chair
but served a now redundant truth
that softness, too, may be uncouth.