British poet, Carol Rumens, was born in London, England. Most of her poetry is inspired by places she has visited. The satirical poem ‘Carpet-weavers, Morocco’ recollects her experiences in Morocco. In Morocco – a poor third-world country – children of school-going age are sent to cottage industries. Rumens talks about the cruelty of child labour and the harsh conditions children have to bear. Children are not even aware of the injustice they are going through. Instead of being sent to school, they are sent to work in industries.
Walking down the streets of Morocco, Rumens sees children of different Ages and heights, weaving carpets. During this process, they weave a picture of a garden of Paradise. Their only source of entertainment is watching flickering knots of thread flying into the air while weaving carpets.
The children are performing an activity which will be cherished forever. In the process, they are learning the hardships of life and invading time. ‘School of days’ sadly evokes school days. The children are meant to be at school. The unsightly facet of child labour is that children are denied their due rights and compelled to work in factories to earn livelihood.
Most children their age enjoy watching television; whereas these children are fabricating a world of their dreams and hopes which is denied. They can only access the world of desires through their imagination, which serves s a key to their lost hopes. The patterns they weave on the carpet are their only source of entertainment.
The carpets will be sent to mosques in Islamic nations on which Muslims will prostrate. The children weave the ‘garden of Islam’ – a satirical image implying that many people are entering the web of Islam; hence, more children would be forced into child labour to make more carpets for worshippers. The spread of Islam would demand more carpets which would lead to a proportional increase in child labour as well. Children learn to think that labour of today might bear fruits tomorrow.
The poem was written to make the world realize and take notice of the predicament of third-world countries – the miserable plight of child labour. It infuses in our minds and spirits that steps should be taken to stop child labour, to allow children across the globe the bliss of education, liberty, luxury and their due rights.