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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The Rag-Picker

A pond of filth a sewer flows into,
Around whose edge the evil ragweeds crowd,
Poison in every breath; and, cloud on cloud,
Insects that sing and sting, the pool's fierce spew:
All hideousness, from every street and stew,
And every stench weaves for the place a shroud;
And in its midst a figure, bent and bowed,
A woman who no girlhood ever knew.
Some offal of humanity she seems;
One with the rags she picks and scrapes among;
More soiled, in soul: the veriest rag
Of womankind, whose squalor looks and dreams
Of nothing higher than the cart that flung
Its last load here from which she crams her bag.

Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. The Wood God
  2. Poe
  3. Dogtown
  4. Love's Calendar
  5. Fall

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