THE WASHER WOMAN’S SONG ~ by Ironquill


  (this poem and photo are both by famous Fort Scott Kansas residents, from different times and backgrounds)

In a very quiet spot,

Photo by Gordon Parks

Photo by Gordon Parks

In a very humble cot,

     In the suds and in the soap,
     Worked a woman full of hope;
Working, singing, all alone,
In a sort of undertone
     “With the Savior for a friend,
     He will keep me to the end.”

Sometimes happening, along,
I had heard the semi-song,
     And I often used to smile,
     More in sympathy than guile;
But I never said a word
In regard to what I heard,
     As she sang about her friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

Not in sorrow nor in glee
Working all day long was she,
     As her children, three or four,
     Played around her on the floor;
But in monotones the song
She was humming all day long:
     “With the Savior for a friend,
     He will keep me to the end.”

It ‘s a song I do not sing,
For I scarce believe a thing
     Of the stories that are told
     Of the miracles of old;
But I know that her belief
Is the anodyne of grief,
     And will always be a friend
     That will keep her to the end.

Just a trifle lonesome she,
Just as poor as poor could be;
     But her spirits always rose,
     Like the bubbles in the clothes,
And, though widowed and alone,
Cheered me with the monotone,
     Of a Savior and a friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

I have seen her rub and scrub,
On the washboard in the tub,
     While the baby, sopped in suds,
     Rolled and tumbled in the duds;
Or was paddling in the pools,
With old scissors stuck in spools;
     She still humming of her friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

Human hopes and human creeds
Have their root in human needs;
     And I should not wish to strip
     From that washerwoman’s lip
Any song that she can sing,
Any hope that songs can bring;
     For the woman has a friend
     Who will keep her to the end.

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11 Comments

Filed under History, Kansas, Poetry

11 responses to “THE WASHER WOMAN’S SONG ~ by Ironquill

  1. Please, when you get a chance….
    say something nice to a lonely service worker.
    Or at least smile and notice them.

    Now I’m back to the hospital.
    Good night all.

  2. Ann

    Will do Sekan. Would love to hear this poem to music.
    Thanks for sharing it with us, I can feel her !

  3. Sekan, if I had to clean that would be the face I would wear too! One lazy loon. 🙂

  4. Wish I could have her job.
    I just drove 160 miles to be told that I’m over-qualified!

    • Gosh I would have hated that one Sekan. But I guess it’s better than them not telling you. Imagine thinking “Geez, I must really suck if I can’t even get THAT job”. I remember a comedian saying he applies for jobs he doesn’t even want, to waste people’s time. I have a sneaking suspicion it was Rodney Rude. This guy is pure bottom of the barrel humor. Unfortunately he is so crude I can’t put any of his stuff on my blog. There is a clip on Youtube where he pulls the piss on McDonalds. It is very funny but so very wrong (I am surprised he hasn’t been sued)! I won’t put the link up because it might frighten your readers .

      • It was oilfield work. The guy looked at my resume and said it was impressive, but he didn’t need rocket science, he needed someone with related experience.

        I told him that since I was capable of rocket science, I’m sure I could pump oil!
        Sheesh.

  5. Ann

    God no Loon they’ll think we’ve all like him.Lol

    • Isn’t he a shocker Ann. Do you remember him on Don Lane…”you know what I hate”. I remember my dad bought a Rodney Rude tape (not knowing it would be crude) and he just about drove off the road from embarrassment when he played it with the whole family in the car! It was back to Monty Python … I’m a lumber jack and I’m OK.

      • Y’all crack me up enough, not sure I could stand Rodney Rude! I do remember when I was a kid in the 60’s, one of my cousins had a Redd Foxx “XXX Party Tape”…..
        never heard anything like it since.

        On the brighter side, I will be going back to work for President Barack Obama soon.
        The US Census Bureau recalls their best workers (ME) when they have more work.
        And I really like doing this stuff too. To bad it’s temporary!

  6. Pingback: AD ASTRA PER ASPERA a poem by Ironquill « KANSAS MEDIOCRITY

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