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There was a time back around ‘76
When I found myself virtually a slave,
Working in a sweatshop in Footscray
In a factory at Modern Maid.

Modern Maid was down Gordon Street
A factory making sinks, pipes, and white goods
But ‘stead of making them to a high standard
As any reputable firm would:

 They had a working bee twice a year
To make the next six months’ stuff,
But as it all stood out in the elements
As the months did pass they began to rust.

So the factory did have five giant vats
And when each day’s orders came in,
They burnt the rust off in vats of acid
Until what was left was paper-thin.

Bathtubs literally a millimetre thick
So thin you’d think they could be no use,
For the first time, someone stepped in
They’d surely go straight through.

But they had a way to protect against this
A method simple yet effective too,
By spraying on a very thick layer of enamel paint
The girth had been trebled; the baths just safe to use.

The vats had two of acid, two of alkali, one of water
In turn baths, sinks, et cetera were all dunked,
Sulphurous fumes would flood the vat room
Until we were all coughing up our lungs.

I stayed there but a single week
In that horrid, steaming, sulphurous Hell,
Still after more than forty-five years
It’s a time I still remember well.

The fumes, the heat, the awful smells
Dodging occasional acid spills,
Feeling grateful to finish another day
Without that day having been killed.

© Copyright 2021 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

About this poem

There was a time back around ‘76 When I found myself virtually a slave, Working in a sweatshop in Footscray In a factory at Modern Maid.

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Written on January 31, 2009

Submitted by PHIL_ROBERTS on July 05, 2021

1:22 min read
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Phil Roberts

I am 64 and loves cats, rock music, and horror fiction and poetry more…

All Phil Roberts poems | Phil Roberts Books

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    "A WEEK IN A FOOTSCRAY SWEATSHOP" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/104283/a-week-in-a-footscray-sweatshop>.

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