The Chieftains:The Magdalene Laundries

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“The Magdalene Laundries”
Artist: The Chieftains featuring Joni Mitchell
Albums: The Wide World Over: A 40 Year Celebration (2002)

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 stink
Of the Magdalene laundries

Prostitutes and destitutes
And temptresses like me
Fallen women
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 those 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
A flirt
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
Not any spring
Oh-uh ho
(Not not any spring)
(Not not any spring)
(Not not any spring)
(Not not any spring)
(Not not any spring)
Not any spring
(Not not any spring)
Not any spring
(Not not any spring)
Not any spring
(Not not any spring)
Not any spring