THE WASHERWOMAN'S PRAYER by Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali

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to my mother-in-law 



Look at her hands 

raw, knobbly and calloused. 

Look at her face 

Like a bean skin soaked in brine.


For countless years she has toiled 

to wash her master's clothes 

Soiled by a lord's luxuries.


In frost-freckled mornings, 

In sun-scorched afternoons,

She has drudged murmurless. 


One day she fell and fainted

With weariness. 

Her mouth a foaming spout 

Gushing a gibberish.


'Good Lord! Dear Lord!' she shouted 

'Why am I so tormented? 

How long have I lamented? 

Tell me Lord, tell me O Lord,'


'My child! Dear child', she heard, 

'Suffer for those who live in gilded sin, 

Toil for those who swim in a bowl of pink gin.'


"Thank you Lord! Thank you Lord.

Never again will I ask 

Why must I carry this task.



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  1. Analysis of the poem the washer woman's prayer by Oswald

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    1. Check back in 5 hours. Join our telegram group to be notified when it is published.

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    2. Hey, here is the complete analysis: https://www.oloyede.com.ng/2023/11/complete-analysis-of-poem-washerwomans.html?m=1

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