Mail Order Bride

He glances through albums of photos

Mostly oriental ladies with a grin or a blank stare

All with very similar details,

Desperate to come to the West

For the riches they imagine are there.

He wants a wife but is not that interested really

He spent more effort choosing his car

But it's time he settled,

After very little success with local women

He's shipping one in from afar.


She sits there in Blow Job City

Hoping her smile looked sweet and pretty,

Hoping her hardness doesn't show through

With the siblings she has to take care of

And all the work she has to do.

She hopes it won't be too long,

She has closed her heart to any love song.


She arrives in London on a day the sun never shone

Meets him for the first time

As he takes her home

To an environment almost as desperate and squalid

As what she has come from.


She's a dutiful wife,

Neat, attentive and clean,

Keeps the home in order

While he watches TV.

Every Thursday without fail he takes her to the bank,

The money wings it's way back

To the hungry hearts who wait.


He has housed her in a small apartment on the thirteenth floor,

She gazes from the window

Too afraid to go out alone,

She feeds him dinners as the TV drones . . . .


Once she thought she heard a little whisper

Of an oriental melody,

It was coming from the corner

From the Chinese Takeaway.

It reminded her of a song she knew so long ago

About a little jewelled bird captured in a cage . . . .

She danced a few steps there on the cold stone balcony,

The hand movements and tiny gestures

Dispalyed so gracefully.

Her husband had the football on,

Never noticed or came near,

Passive and collected

She wiped away a tear . . . .

◄ Strong Vulnerability

The Garden Shed ►


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Wolfgar Miere

Wed 18th Oct 2017 09:42

Hello Hannah,

A difficult and very complex subject, too vast to address in its entirety, but your observations are unfortunately true in many circumstances.

I do know some people (men) who live in Thailand mostly for tax reasons and for other reasons which "they" might call geographic benefits. There is no doubt in my mind that some of them are wretches with questionable morals.

It is unfortunate that attitudes toward marriages between western men and Asian women are so often pre-judged, I have seen it myself and have heard the most disgusting accusations made to people who are in genuine loving relationships which do not involve any kind of exploitation.

I had a British friend who was an avionics engineer who married a female Thai lecturer he had met whilst at University, they were both practicing Buddhists living a very normal lifestyle in Hong-Kong, the sneering attitude and open hostility often shown to them was frankly very disturbing.

Whilst I agree that the situation you describe does undoubtedly exist (and I am happy to see it addressed) it is worth considering how stereotypical attitudes may affect and distress people involved in genuine relationships, it might help us guard against rushing to judgements.

I have also seen genuine love bloom and bring a great deal of happiness to families from the most unconventional of beginnings, I have seen families lifted from poverty by similar arrangements which have not been exploitative in any way.

I hope you understand that I am not in any way suggesting you are stereotyping in this piece, I think you are opening up a topic which many people have little knowledge of and therefore are maybe prone adopting traditional attitudes towards.

The whole concept of mail order brides bleeds into discussions about low level people trafficking, in the west we focus on organized criminal gangs trafficking and so often miss the small stuff.

London is awash with domestic workers traded by legitimate companies, many based in the middle east, these people are slaves right under our noses brought and sold by contracts.

I apologize for digressing so wildly, I suppose its a measure of the impact of your poem.

Good provocative stuff Hannah,


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Frances Macaulay Forde

Wed 18th Oct 2017 04:34

The initial distance created by the first establishing verses is beautifully juxtaposed by the poetic metaphors of bird and dance in the second half of the poem - the hard and soft of life.
Well done.

In response to David's comments above, I feel compelled to say I have seen both sides. On my first read, I actually balked at the blatant seemingly stereotypical characterizations in the first half. Then I read it again in the context of the second half. It was a human study.
My son met a beautiful Thai girl doing the same university course as he was. I am so proud to call her my daughter-in-law. A true love story, but they have been regarded as otherwise until people get to know them. They have a huge circle of friends, many in similar 'mixed' happy marriages. My son and his princess have given me two beautiful grandchildren who are the light of my life. I am very lucky they live here in Australia too, her family only see them during holidays. Thankfully, they are in a position to visit quite often.
I've also seen the other side through children of friends and through the Thai Cultural Association who help as many who find themselves in difficulty as they can.
In the end we are all human, we all have our stories and circumstances which test us.
So in the end, I read the poem as a human tale, not a judgement.

<Deleted User> (13762)

Mon 9th Oct 2017 10:42

excellent Hannah.

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lynn hahn

Mon 9th Oct 2017 02:36

This is so wonderful. Life can be so decided for some. You captured this reality so well.

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Hannah Collins

Sun 8th Oct 2017 20:43

I have never met any mail order brides or their husbands but I saw a small paragraph in a newspaper about it and somehow the poem came to me.
Thanks so much for the comments.

patricia Hughes

Sun 8th Oct 2017 20:42

I love it,tackles a difficult subject in style.

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Sun 8th Oct 2017 19:17

Really sordid tale and i'm sure spot on in many cases Hannah. I like the switch to the past tense in the last verse as it seems to add depth to the tale like an afterthought, and one so poignant and hopeless. This guy sounds like a real sleazeball, typical of many on the make. A tiny point but should that line read "hoping her smile looks sweet and pretty" to keep the tense? I love the juxtaposition of the little dance and: had the football on (another sort of dance)!

Fine work and true to honest form.

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Martin Elder

Sun 8th Oct 2017 17:32

excellent poem Hannah, particularly with such a tricky subject, something of which I must admit to knowing little about, only that it goes on. Pretty dreadful state of affairs to say the least. Thanks for posting

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