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.