The Book of American Negro Poetry/The Washer-Woman


A great swart cheek and the gleam of tears,
The flutter of hopes and the shadow of fears,
And all day long the rub and scrub
With only a breath betwixt tub and tub.
Fool! Thou hast toiled for fifty years
And what hast thou now but thy dusty tears?
In silence she rubbed . . . But her face I had seen,
Where the light of her soul fell shining and clean.