By Brian Patten

Dressed you are a different creature.
Dressed you are polite, are discreet and full of friendships,
Dressed you are almost serious.
You talk of the world and of all its disasters
As if they really moved you.
Dressed you hold on to illusions.

The wardrobes are full of disguises,
The dress to be unbuttoned only in darkness,
The dress that seems always about to fall from you,
The touch-me-not dress, the how-expensive dress,
The dress slung on without caring.
Dressed you are a different creature.

You are indignant of the eyes upon you,
The eyes that crawl over you.
That feed on the bits you’ve allowed
To be naked.
Dressed you are imprisoned in labels,
You are cocooned in fashions,
Dressed you are a different creature.

As easily as in the bedrooms
In the fields littered with rubble
The dresses fall from you,
In the spare room the party never reaches
The dresses fall from you.
Aided or unaided, clumsily or easily,
The dresses fall from you and then
From you falls all the cheap blossom.
Undressed you are a different creature.

(From Brian Patten, Collected Love Poems)

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