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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