The Blue Suit

Frederick Seidel

Richard Anderson, master Savile Row tailor,
Opens the eleventh-floor hotel room door
Wearing a new suit so blue
It makes me smile,
Something no suit has been able to do for quite a while.
Welcome to room 1111 at the Carlyle.

When earlier in the morning Richard crossed the street
To the pharmacy opposite,
A stranger coming out of Zitomer’s cried out,
‘My God, that suit is blue!’
Which was hilariously true.
All day long people remarked on it: the suit, and the blue, and the fit.

Richard and I walk around with, in our heads, a museum
Of, in his case, clothes he has made over the years,
And, in mine, clothes he has made for me that I have worn.
I have worn a lot of clothes since I was born.
Diapers eventually turned into bespoke
Suits that rise like ghosts out of the smoke.

Suits hang from their hangers in my mind
And faintly tinkle in the wind
Like wind chimes,
Prettifying my many crimes.
Mr Hall at Huntsman was followed by his former pupil,
Now at his own firm, Richard Anderson at Richard Anderson.

What does a blue suit do?
What does a blue suit know?
It won’t find friends in Moscow
When it’s as electric blue as this one is.
It’s a bit too Broadway musical, too Broadway show,
For Washington DC.

My dear severe Mr Hall, whom I called the Reverend,
And who died a decade ago,
Wafts like mist through my mind
And falls like gently falling snow.
The wind chimes tinkle softly in the perfumed nights on Bali.
The trumpets of life-after-death blow.