Smoking Spiritualized

Did you know that this was National Poetry Month?  Or that yesterday was Poem in Your Pocket Day?  In an unabashed attempt at one-up-man-ship, I declare today, Poem in Your Pipe Day and offer the following jewel from the pen of Ralph Erskine as my offering appropriate to the day.   In encourage you to put this in your pipe and smoke it.  Enjoy!

 

SMOKING SPIRITUALIZED.

IN TWO PARTS.

THE FIRST PART BEING AN OLD MEDITATION UPON SMOKING TOBACCO; THE SECOND, A NEW ADDITION TO IT, OR IMPROVEMENT OF IT.

 

PART I.

This Indian weed now wither’d quite,

Tho’ green at noon, cut down at night,

Shows thy decay ;

All flesh is hay.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

The pipe so lily-like and weak,

Does thus thy mortal state bespeak.

Thou art ev’n such,

Gone with a touch.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

And when the smoke ascends on high,

Then thou behold’st the vanity

Of worldly stuff,

Gone with a puff.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

And when the pipe grows foul within,

Think on thy soul defil’d with sin ;

For then the fire,

It does require.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

And seest the ashes cast away ;

Then to thyself thou mayest say ;

That to the dust

Return thou must.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

PART II.

WAS this small plant for thee cut down?

So was the plant of great renown ;

Which mercy sends

For nobler ends.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

Doth juice medicinal proceed

From such a naughty foreign weed ?

Then what’s the pow’r

Of Jesse’s flow’r ?

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

The promise, like the pipe, inlays,

And by the mouth of faith conveys

What virtue flows

From Sharon’s rose.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

In vain th’ unlighted pipe you blow ;

Your pains in inward means are so,

‘Till heav’nly fire

The heart inspire.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco.

 

The smoke, like burning incense, tow’rs

So should a praying heart of yours,

With ardent cries,

Surmount the skies.

Thus think, and smoke tobacco

 

 

2 thoughts on “Smoking Spiritualized

  1. Well, as a health educator by training, I cannot condone tobacco smoking in any form! Yes, it may feel good and calm the mind for the moment, but there are so many toxins and negative effects on one’s health, that it’s not worth the benefit. In fact, the best thing you can do for your physical health is to stop smoking or using tobacco in any form.

    • Heidi, I agree. This poem was penned in the early 18th century before the effects of tobacco were established. There are herbal alternatives to tobacco which promote positive health benefits as well as the positive aesthetic and sensory aspects of pipe smoking.

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