Strung out, stretched, securely pinned,
Wriggling, squirming in the wind.
I on hammock beneath clouds and blue sky,
Idly ponder the question why
Should captured laundry hung out to dry,
Remind me of ancestors long gone by,
Who, washing and scrubbing, engaged in that chore,
Will always link women of nowadays and yore.

Just look at us Moderns, with no need of our hands
To pound and smack laundry while squatting on sands,
Beside rivers, on rocks, skin roughened and raw.
‘Tis still the labor of women, but not on this shore.
We have gadgets and gewgaws, time-savers galore,
To cram more in the day, then go out and buy more.
We rush, have no time. Ah! where is the pleasure
Of buying those items and hording our treasure?

I find myself musing, hammock a-sway
Of my faraway sisters who’re washing today,
In community, a gathering with gossip and chatter.
What have I gained, does my wealth really matter?
I’ve time on my hands and so much more leisure.
What have I lost and how do I measure
The closeness, shared toil, with children at play,
Of women at work, one and all, on wash day?

By Gabrielle Blair

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