David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

APED: "ode to the sweatshop"

Samir weaves cheap rugs for a living
in Kashmir. He's thirteen years old.
Xiuping built your iPod in Beijing.
Her village has two hundred souls.
And this is Kimsong, who's from Vietnam.
Pray for these children of God.
Samir made your rug. Xiuping built your iPod.
Kimsong's sweater keeps you from cold.

They work in atrocious conditions,
and they work thirteen-hour days.
It's a fact that deserves recognition.
For they're cheap, so it's less that you pay.
They're far from their homes, and they work to the bone.
But it's a small world, in the end.
They don't speak your tongue. They won't be your friends.
But your Wal-Mart is not far away.

They hate it, I'm sure. For who wouldn't?
They're exploited. But don't curse their lot.
Wish them better -- I'm not saying you shouldn't.
But think, too, like them, what they're not.
Xiuping eats her fill, and knows each day she will.
Consider this carefully, now:
Samir isn't knee-deep in cowshit.
Kimsong isn't pushing a plow.

When you work inside, thirteen hours a day,
you aren't rained on and you're warm.
You've got four walls of concrete, steel, or clay
and a roof to protect you from harm.
And your stomach is full, and that's not much, I know,
but your hands aren't shaking with cold.
Your feet aren't covered in cowshit and mold,
and sometimes that's better than home.

So think of them. Wish them well. Pray for them.
Buy what you can, so they're paid.
In time there will come a new day for them,
as they have so often prayed.
And that'll make twice. For they prayed for these lives.
For others are worse off than they.
Samir and Kimsong save, to one day get wives.
For Xiuping, this is a new day.

And that is the ode to the sweatshop.
It's cruel, yes it is, and it's rough.
It's hard. It's the pits. It's not much, I admit.
But sometimes, that little's enough.
For while in this world there's no shortage of crimes
I know none crueler, none more corrupt:
for some people, some places, some terrible times,
going to hell's a step up.
Tags: a poem every day

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