Our Sister Of The Streets.

A poem by Charles Hamilton Musgrove

She comes not with the conscious grace
Of gentle, winsome womanhood,
Nor yet, withal, the flaunting face
Of men and women understood,
But rather as a thing apart,
A wind-blown petal of a rose,
A specter with a specter's heart
That cometh once--and goes.

Her eyes some trace of cold, white light
Within their haunted depths still hold,
Though hunger's fever made them bright,
And lack of pity made them cold.
We know her when she passes by,
Whom no one loves or chides or greets--
The woman with the cold, bright eye--
Our sister of the streets.

We know the tawdry arts she tries,
The tint of cheek, the gold of hair,
To mimic nature for the eyes
Of those who scorn her paltry care,
And spurn those charms--if aught abide
Within her beauty's narrowed scope--
Now touched with less a wanton's pride
Than with an outcast's hope.

We know her in the blatant crowd,
And feel her, as we feel, in fine,
The eyes' remembrance of a cloud,
The lips' faint bitterness of brine;
We know her when she passes by,
Whom no one loves or chides or greets--
The woman with the cold, bright eye--
Our sister of the streets.

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