Read The Trap of General William Booth enters into Heaven and other Poems, free online book, by Vachel Lindsay, on

  She was taught desire in the street,
  Not at the angels’ feet. 
  By the good no word was said
  Of the worth of the bridal bed. 
  The secret was learned from the vile,
  Not from her mother’s smile. 
  Home spoke not.  And the girl
  Was caught in the public whirl. 
  Do you say “She gave consent: 
  Life drunk, she was content
  With beasts that her fire could please?”
  But she did not choose disease
  Of mind and nerves and breath. 
  She was trapped to a slow, foul death. 
  The door was watched so well,
  That the steep dark stair to hell
  Was the only escaping way . . . 
  “She gave consent,” you say?

  Some think she was meek and good,
  Only lost in the wood
  Of youth, and deceived in man
  When the hunger of sex began
  That ties the husband and wife
  To the end in a strong fond life. 
  Her captor, by chance was one
  Of those whose passion was done,
  A cold fierce worm of the sea
  Enslaving for you and me. 
  The wages the poor must take
  Have forced them to serve this snake. 
  Yea, half-paid girls must go
  For bread to his pit below. 
  What hangman shall wait his host
  Of butchers from coast to coast,
  New York to the Golden Gate
  The merger of death and fate,
  Lust-kings with a careful plan
  Clean-cut, American?

  In liberty’s name we cry
  For these women about to die.

  O mothers who failed to tell
  The mazes of heaven and hell,
  Who failed to advise, implore
  Your daughters at Love’s strange door,
  What will you do this day? 
  Your dear ones are hidden away,
  As good as chained to the bed,
  Hid like the mad, or the dead:
  The glories of endless years
  Drowned in their harlot-tears: 
  The children they hoped to bear,
  Grandchildren strong and fair,
  The life for ages to be,
  Cut off like a blasted tree,
  Murdered in filth in a day,
  Somehow, by the merchant gay!

  In liberty’s name we cry
  For these women about to die.

  What shall be said of a state
  Where traps for the white brides wait? 
  Of sellers of drink who play
  The game for the extra pay? 
  Of statesmen in league with all
  Who hope for the girl-child’s fall? 
  Of banks where hell’s money is paid
  And Pharisees all afraid
  Of pandars that help them sin? 
  When will our wrath begin?