Shops of the New Age

George Hughes

The shop I shop at has a marble floor
and almost nothing in it.
It looks like a clean mortuary
with narrow shelves for folded swathes
of black and white and grey.
My cowled adversary the assistant stands
and offers shapeless forms slung out on racks.
There’s nothing gorgeous here; brocade is damned;
but cutting has been done in secret ways.

This place is called Comme ça du mode.
Is this the mode? Is this the meaning of the mode?
The careless shoppers stroll around
touching the cloth with sacrilegious hands,
moving past full-length mirrors
where a body stands imagining itself
into a shape of indigo and silk.
And at its back the square grey table lours
on which the purchases are sometimes laid.

We call this cult ‘the cult of city life’:
it gives a high-tech touch to graveyard humour.