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the suit

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The suit,
Once a vestment of prestige
Now a vestige. To wit,
Mormons wear them
And faith healers;
What's more,
So do bouncers,
And thugs
And dealers of drugs...
And John Redwood,
For whom is lent
A genteel facade
Which masks the mad,
The dangerous,
The intellectually inept....

We live in a time
Where suit and repute are equally unchecked.

What I object to
Is the impression of wealth.
Where respect is due,
Not for the soul of a man,
But for the shine of his shoe
Or the cut of his drape which cloaks the flab
In endlessly differing shades of drab.

But I'm not taken in.
Gandhi didn't wear one.
Nor do Friends of the Earth
Or doctors in Rwanda,
Or leaders of Labour who prefer,
On formal occasions, the well worn reefer.
These are the ones to whom I defer.
Even presidents like to be seen
In jeans.
A precedent,
For those that commute
Or incline to the brutish pretence of repute.

Yes, gone for a burton,
My respect for the suit.

© Thomas Hardy 1996

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