Lovely Lady, Soiled Dove

Lovely Lady, Soiled Dove

A Chapter by My Fair Lady

Frontier Life of Prostitution




















She works in the room at the top of the stairs

trying to feel like a lady in a taffeta gown.

Prospects for marriage now gone.

Oh, she’ll have plenty of callers.

They’ll even ask for her by name,

they may love her body

but there is only one that has her soul.


She’ll hold him close to her heart

On a little gold chain.

Inside a small locket he gave her

a petal from the last rose enclosed,

to be traded next time he comes around.


He’ll blow in with the wind,

like tumbleweed in the dusty street.

No one knows where he is going

or where he has been

Not even him.


He’ll pay the thirty dollars

to stay the whole night.

The mistress knows not to disturb.

The gold that she lost from

denying the other boys

is a small price to pay for her favorite girl;

who is more like a daughter now.


He’ll kiss deeply her ruby lips,

the one thing she denies the others.

Wishing he could save her from this tragic life,

he’ll tell her he loves her as much as he is able.

She would ride away with him if he would ask .

He wont ask, and she won’t tell him the kitchen boy is his;

But he knows.


A years worth of wages

He leaves on her table.

She tucks it away,

her beauty fading except in his eyes.

If she is lucky, someday she will have her own girls

and not die in poverty.

A rose on her pillow

He rides at first light

Pulled away by something he can’t understand.


He won’t deny he loves her

She won’t ask him to stay.

They feel something they cannot describe.

He thinks about her,

jealousy, laudanum or disease,

all the things that could take her,

But his heart won’t let him settle

She’ll never ask .


She longs for a picket fence,

Babies and chicks in the yard.

She understands him better

than he understands himself.

And that is just how it is.

A home is no place for a rambling man

and love just isn’t enough to tie him down.


A hellish life of lust and love,

Lipstick, lace and sweat.

Dirt, death and jealousy.

A boy, a rambling love.

Lace and a locket.

The life of a soiled dove.

© 2010 My Fair Lady

Author's Note

My Fair Lady
In a part of the country when men outnumbered women three to one and sometimes much higher, prostitutes of the Old West were very popular, and also considered a necessity. Many skilled women simply had to turn to prostitution to survive. It was a difficult, dangerous and short life.

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I like how you told this poem. It was no pity in the words for the woman. She accepted her life and did what she had to. I like the story of her rambling man. Everybody need to have hope and dreams. A strong ending to a outstanding poem. Thank you.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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ooo stunning! I love the story the tale of the soiled dove - the complications in between that they can't quite grasp - a poignant tale with some hope and prosper that things will turn out for the best, maybe in the future if he rolls in on the wind again!! loved it!

Posted 9 Years Ago

What a great depiction of many women's existence in the Old West. A great piece of storytelling.

Posted 9 Years Ago

First: Very pretty picture. I needed to get that out.

Second, beautiful, sad poem. So terrifying that it wasn't that long ago either - and the medical advancment we have made since - tragic life. Very thought provoking. Thank you.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Wow, lovely poem :)
I loved reading this. :D

Posted 9 Years Ago

To me it was like a whole dream and then the last stanza was when you woke up, because it really was just fantasy until I was slapped in the grill with a poetic justice of reality. Very well written poem.

"A hellish life of lust and love,
Lipstick, lace and sweat.
Dirt, death and jealousy.
A boy, a rambling love.
Lace and a locket.
The life of a soiled dove."

Posted 9 Years Ago

I was very moved by this.. i cant even describe what i thought...

Posted 9 Years Ago

you have fleshed her out with care~taking her through the cycle with thoughtful tenderness~ breathing humanity into a lady many would carelessly dismiss as soiled goods in those days~
thank you for the historical perspective in your author's note~ it spreads the frame wider to enhance even more the nuances within the body of your mindful poem~

Posted 9 Years Ago

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8 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on September 10, 2010
Last Updated on October 23, 2010
Tags: frontier prostitution, old west women, rambling men


My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady

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