Of The Slums

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Red-faced as old carousal, and with eyes
  A hard, hot blue; her hair a frowsy flame,
  Bold, dowdy-bosomed, from her widow-frame
  She leans, her mouth all insult and all lies.
  Or slattern-slippered and in sluttish gown,
  With ribald mirth and words too vile to name,
  A new Doll Tearsheet, glorying in her shame,
  Armed with her Falstaff now she takes the town.
  The flaring lights of alley-way saloons,
  The reek of hideous gutters and black oaths
  Of drunkenness from vice-infested dens,
  Are to her senses what the silvery moon's
  Chaste splendor is, and what the blossoming growths
  Of earth and bird-song are to innocence.

© Madison Julius Cawein