Sunday, 1 July 2012

The story of stuff (Christmas reflections)

Do they ever wonder,
Those poor Chinese,
Where their goods go,
And who they please?

While we turn a blind eye,
And  buy all that's cheap.
 But how can we justify it,
And our humanity still keep?

But how can you change,
 A system built on greed,
With desperate workers,
who have families to feed?

You can buy locally made,
Or Fairtrade goods.
But this won't change the system,
We're not out of the woods.

All that's left,
Is to use your Voice,
And help others to see,
That we have a choice.

This isn't the only way,
That it can be,
We can have a world,
Where all are free.

I had thought of them years earlier, but originally wrote just the opening stanza as my Christmas poem for 2011, while I was thinking about where the gifts we received had come from.

I'm re-posting it now for the poetics prompt 'buttons', as one of the stereotypical products that come from sweatshops across Asia is obviously clothes.

For the dVerse Poets who read this post I encourage those of you, who haven't already, to slick on the 'Social Justice' tag and read some of my other poems on similar subjects

I would be interested to know what you think!

This question came to me while thinking about sweatshops a few years back; it seemed apt to think about it again just after Christmas.

If you want to know more or how you can help the fight against abusive sweatshops (those which pay virtually nothing to workers in dangerous conditions) check out the UK organisation No Sweat's website:  

Post-Christmas micro poem:
Back after Christmas/My pen working again//Only question is/Did hols muddle my brain?// (Hope u all had a good break!)


  1. yes, i hear you...i've been sewing quite a bit when the kids were small and know how much work it is to sew a pair of trousers or a shirt..and it def. is work that should be paid fair..i think that things are about to change in china with increasing audits and growing awareness..and we can do our part by choosing wisely what and where we buy our stuff

  2. A sobering look at the world we never see, even though it's printed or sewn into the shirts on our backs.

  3. For these people sewing clothes, its food on the table, clothes and things to keep them going. Their standard of living is different from the West, where wages are very expensive. The greed is on the business side who wants to take advantage of these workers situation ~ Good and relevant theme ~

  4. poignant man on the cheap labor and us not thinking any different as we buy what we want without a care to their conditions....its a sad blind world we live in...

  5. Hi Dylan - you are right = such difficult questions - the sweat laborers desperate for jobs - everyone here (in the U.S.) at least just salivating after cheap goods. All the cheap goods are not so great for the planet either! A really great theme for a poem. k .

  6. How can we justify it
    an our humanity keep?

    we can't...we're just a vile species1

  7. Thanks for all the comments dVersePoets! Glad you enjoyed the poem and got thinking

    Cressida de Nova I don't think humans are a vile species, I truly believe we are all capable of great good. I wouldn't be working in the humanitarian field if I didn't think this! But I do think we need to look seriously and critically at what we're doing. Thanks for comment!

    Well said Charles!