Magnolia leaves / Mary Weston Fordham [electronic text]

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Title
Magnolia leaves / Mary Weston Fordham [electronic text]
Author
Fordham, Mary Weston
Publication
Tuskeegee, Ala.: Tuskeegee Institute
1897
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"Magnolia leaves / Mary Weston Fordham [electronic text]." In the digital collection American Verse Project. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/BAD5606.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 23, 2024.

Pages

THE WASHERWOMAN.

With hands all reddened and sore, With back and shoulders low bent, She stands all day, and part of the night Till her strength is well-nigh spent. With her rub—rub—rub, And her wash, rinse, shake, Till the muscles start and the spirit sinks, And the bones begin to ache.
At morn when the sunbeams scatter In rays so golden and bright, She yearns for the hour of even, She longs for the restful night. Still she rubs—rubs—rubs, With the energy born of want, For the larder's empty and must be filled,— The fuel's growing scant.
As long as the heart is blithesome, Will her spirit bear her up, And kindness and love imparteth a zest To sweeten hard life's bitter cup. But to toil—toil—toil, From the grey of the morn till eve, Is an ordeal so drear for a human to bear, Which the rich can hardly conceive.

Page 18

What part in the world of pleasure? What holidays are her own? For the rich reck not of privations and tears, Saying, "she is to the manor born." So dry those scalding tears That furrow so deeply thy cheek, For rest—rest—rest Will come at the end of the week.
Yes, even on earth there's a day When labor and toil must cease, The world at its birth received the mandate Of the seventh day of rest. When the sweet-toned Sabbath bells Break o'er the balmy air, Then sing—sing—sing That the morning stars may hear.
For the frugal table spread, For the crust and the humble bed, When He to whom all earth belongs Had not where to lay His head, Then toil for thy daily bread, Let thy heart like thy hands be clean, And rub—rub—rub Till thy bones all ache, I ween.
With hands all reddened and sore, With back and shoulders bent low, Thou hast for thy comfort that rest, sweet rest, Will be found on the other shore.

Page 19

Then they who've washed their souls Will dip in the crystal tide Of the fountain clear that was oped to man From the Saviour's wounded side.
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