The Laundry Song - Wen Yi-tuo

(One piece, two pieces, three pieces,)

Washing must be clean.

(Four pieces, five pieces, six pieces,)

Ironing must be smooth.

I can wash handkerchiefs wet with sad tears;

I can wash shirts soiled in sinful crimes.

The grease of greed, the dirt of desire ...

And all the filthy things at your house,

Give them to me to wash, give them to me.

Brass stinks so; blood smells evil.

Dirty things you have to wash.

Once washed, they will again be soiled.

How can you, men of patience, ignore them!

Wash them (for the Americans), wash them!

You say the laundry business is too base.

Only Chinamen are willing to stoop so low?

It was your preacher who once told me:

Christ's father used to be a carpenter.

Do you believe it? Don't you believe it?

There isn't much you can do with soap and water.

Washing clothes truly can't compare with building warships.

I, too, say what great prospect lies in this —

Washing the other's sweat with your own blood and sweat?

(But) do you want to do it? Do you want it?

Year in year out a drop of homesick tears;

Midnight, in the depth of night, a laundry lamp ...

Menial or not, you need not bother,

Just see what is not clean, what is not smooth,

And ask the Chinaman, ask the Chinaman.

I can wash handkerchiefs wet with sad tears;

I can wash shirts soiled in sinful crimes.

The grease of greed, the dirt of desire ...

And all the filthy things at your house,

Give them to me — I'll wash them, give them to me.






Chink, chink, Chinaman,

Wash my pants;

Put them into the boiler,

And make them dance.



All the Spikes But the Last


Scott Francis Reginald



Where are the coolies in your poem, Ned?

Where are the thousands from China who

swung their picks with bare hands at forty below?

Between the first and the million other spikes

they drove, and the dressed-up act of

Donald Smith, who has sung their story?

Did they fare so well in the land they helped to

unite? Did they get one of the 25,000,000 CPR acres?

Is all Canada has to say to them written in

the Chinese Immigration Act?