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Laundry Girl

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Marie was sent to the laundry,
To wash her soul clean from it’s sin,
No knowing when she’ll see freedom,
She’s forgotten when she came in.
Chastised and chided by day,
Forbidden to dream in the night,
While overflowing baskets of laundry,
Await in the cold morning light.
Hunger lengthens each hour,
Each hour there’s a rule to obey,
Ever an hour for toil and sweat,
But never an hour to play.
Seasons don’t change in the laundry,
No autumn leaves nor spring buds,
She weeps as her youth and her beauty,
Flow down the drain with the suds.
No prison walls were so high,
Prison bars never so strong,
As caged the girls in the laundry,
Doing penance for doing no wrong.
Today the laundry’s a ruin,
Wild ivy is climbing the stairs,
Dead dormitories cling to the silence,
That shrouded the hope and the prayers.
Sometimes she remembers in sorrow,
By times she thinks she is free,
Marie doesn’t live in the laundry now,
But the laundry still lives with Marie.

By Paddu Mulhern