Long pipes and short ones, straight and curved,
High carved and plain, dark-hued and creamy,
Slim tubes for cigarettes reserved,
And stout ones for Havanas dreamy.
This cricket, on an amber spear
Impaled, recalls that golden weather
When love and I, too young to fear
Heartburn, smoked cigarettes together.
And even now--too old to take
The little papered shams for flavor--
I light it oft for her sweet sake
Who gave it, with her girlish favor.
And here's the mighty student bowl
Whose tutoring in and after college
Has led me nearer wisdom's goal
Than all I learned of text-book knowledge.
"It taught me?" Ay, to hold my tongue,
To keep a-light, and yet burn slowly,
To break ill spells around me flung
As with the enchanted whiff of Moly.
This nargileh, whose hue betrays
Perique from soft Louisiana,
In Egypt once beguiled the days
Of Tewfik's dreamy-eyed Sultana.
Speaking of color,--do you know
A maid with eyes as darkly splendid
As are the hues that, rich and slow,
On this Hungarian bowl have blended?
Can artist paint the fiery glints
Of this quaint finger here beside it,
With amber nail,--the lustrous tints,
A thousand Partagas have dyed it?
"And this old silver patched affair?"
Well, sir, that meerschaum has its reasons
For showing marks of time and wear;
For in its smoke through fifty seasons
My grandsire blew his cares away!
And then, when done with life's sojourning,
At seventy-five dropped dead one day,
That pipe between his set teeth burning!
"Killed him?" No doubt! it's apt to kill
In fifty year's incessant using--
Some twenty pipes a day. And still,
On that ripe, well-filled, lifetime musing,
I envy oft so bright a part,--
To live as long as life's a treasure;
To die of--not an aching heart,
But--half a century of pleasure!
Well, well! I'm boring you, no doubt;
How these old memories will undo one--
I see you've let your weed go out;
That's wrong! Here, light yourself a new one!
CHARLES F. LUMMIS.
Next: ODE TO TOBACCO.
Previous: WHAT I LIKE.