Anonymous Architecture

Did you ever wonder whose skin you're under?
Not real skin, of course,
But the stuff that becomes you for a day.
Doubtful that this would pass your threshold of attention
Unless you're one of them... a garment-designer.

They do not work in stone, so no-one recalls
Their spirit after they've departed.
No gallery will deign to display their art
Because it has a function some would call
Too commonplace.
But the line between craft and art is like
That magic shade between blue and green,
Hard to pin down, and no-one ever agrees.

What is the secret of marble and glass
Which are dead to the world,
That they may claim so much more artistic veneration
Than the supple life of fabric?
Skeletons of stone and tile we call art,
(Though we hedge a little even there.)
Yet we scarcely consider the merits
Of a more intimate friend:
An overcoat, a silk shirt, or a well-made pair of trousers.

Consider a fine, or even a simple, shirt.
Each piece of cloth is a stone,
Often of different shape, texture, and color,
Assembled, a fluid mosaic.
Form and function are united in cloth;
The parts have names, each to be measured and fit with precision.
The whole gives shelter from the elements,
And presents an image to onlookers,
Sometimes concealing, other times revealing or accenting that within.

Fashion is considered by many
Effeminate, frivolous.
The garment Muse is much abused
Both by its critics and its archetypal trend-hungry consumers.
But let the stodgy music critic, or the finicky appraiser of paintings
Remember this.
If they are to be emperors to the public taste,
They should scarcely wish to go in shabby dress, or worse yet,

George Chadderdon © 1995