The Magdalene Laundries
by Joni Mitchell
I was an unmarried girl
I'd just turned twenty-seven
When they sent me to the sisters
For the way men looked at me.
Branded as a jezebel,
I knew I was not bound for Heaven
I'd be cast in shame
Into the Magdalene laundries.
Most girls come here pregnant
Some by their own fathers.
Bridget got that belly
By her parish priest.
We're trying to get things white as snow,
All of us woe-begotten daughters,
In the steaming stains
Of the Magdalene laundries.
Prostitutes and destitutes
And temptresses like me—
Sentenced into dreamless drudgery—
Why do they call this heartless place
Our Lady of Charity?
These bloodless brides of Jesus,
If they had just once glimpsed their groom,
Then they'd know, and they'd drop the stones
Concealed behind their rosaries.
They wilt the grass they walk upon,
They leech the light out of a room,
They'd like to drive us down the drain
At the Magdalene laundries.
Peg O'Connell died today.
She was a cheeky girl,
They just stuffed her in a hole!
Surely to God you'd think at least
some bells should ring!
One day I'm going to die here too.
And they'll plant me in the dirt
Like some lame bulb
That never blooms come any spring,
Come any spring,
No, not any spring...