Landscape with Washerwomen

February 12, 2010
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And the dark
over the land,
the deep despair, the sooty starving guilt,
and the summer stream
becomes an icy pounding torrent
studded with rocky jags of death.
Trees cower, cliffs huddle shudder
in the rain of an endless night.

And still they come,
marching briskly
rough simple women
tough fearless women
and a lone melancholy fisher
with their ragged baskets of clothes.

Reckless they plunge into
the mud, slap
the scratchy cotton smelly wool
in the beating screaming flood.
The wind is relentless yet
they grip the soap in callused fingers,
roll up their sleeves over
muscled arms, and
wipe the sweat from their kerchiefed brows,
the grime from the soaking shawls.

The fisher sits,
rocked back on the sodden ground,
and a battle rages in the sky,
dark light despair hope,
and the sun beats back the clouds
as the women beat the wash upon the banks
and breaks open a giant wash-basket,
a crater, a bowl of

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