Selected Poems

5 Poems About Smoking We Can All Enjoy

Last Updated: January 28, 2023

As we embark on this journey through the world of smoking poetry, it’s worth acknowledging the undeniable romanticism that often surrounds the habit. From the iconic imagery of a lone smoker, lost in thought, to the cool and collected demeanor exuded by characters like Cillian Murphy’s in Peaky Blinders, there’s no denying the allure of smoking. However, it’s important to note that the actor himself smoked only nicotine-free cigarettes to avoid addiction. But, for now, let us set aside any preconceptions and delve into the rich and varied world of smoking poetry, where we can all appreciate the unique perspectives and styles on offer.

From the romanticism of lighting up a cigarette to the contemplation of addiction, these 5 poems offer a diverse range of perspectives and styles that will appeal to smokers and non-smokers alike. So sit back, light up, and enjoy the journey through these thought-provoking verses.

1. Smoke by W. S. Di Piero

Someday I’ll smoke Camels, my father’s brand,
then Gauloises to prove I’m stronger than him
in burning whatever’s inside that won’t sleep.

Smoke is a reflection of the act of smoking and its connection to the speaker’s identity and relationships. W. S. Di Piero compares different ways in which people smoke, and the different brands of cigarettes they smoke, this shows the individuality of each person and how they approach smoking differently. The speaker’s mention of Yom-Yom’s uncle who smokes cedar bark in the country highlights the contrast between urban and rural ways of life and how smoking is a common thread that connects them.

The speaker’s reference to his father’s brand of cigarettes, Camels, and his desire to smoke Gauloises to prove he is stronger than his father, suggests a deeper emotional connection to the act of smoking. It signifies the speaker’s desire to assert his independence and individuality and to separate himself from his father’s influence. Overall, Smoke is a powerful reflection of the act of smoking and its connection to identity and relationships. It evokes a sense of community, urban decay, and the destructive nature of smoking.

2. Hans Reading, Hans Smoking by Liam Rector

Behind you. And so your friends pass by waiting,
Wanting to know what you will come up with when you rise

From your stationary chair, our Hans reading and smoking.

The speaker’s mother in Hans Reading, Hans Smoking is described as being focused on behavior and sees Hans as simply sitting and smoking, but the speaker recognizes that there is more to the situation. The speaker suggests that Hans is in a state of grief, reverie, or worry and may be thinking about lost love or financial troubles. The speaker also notes that Hans’s smoking is not a conscious act, but rather a habit that is smoking itself.

Through Hans Reading, Hans Smoking, Liam Rector addresses the concept of behavior and how people cope with emotions and challenges. It also suggests that there is more to a person’s actions than what is immediately visible and that people’s coping mechanisms can be different.

3. A Farewell to Tobacco by Charles Lamb

And the suburbs of thy graces;
And in thy borders take delight,
An unconquer’d Canaanite.

In A Farewell to Tobacco, Charles Lamb expresses a complex relationship with the plant. He describes tobacco as a “Sooty retainer to the vine, / Bacchus’ black servant, negro fine,” and accuses it of making people addicted to its “pernicious” effects. He also compares the effects of smoking tobacco to the cloud of smoke that surrounds the volcano Mount Etna, stating that it creates a sort of “Sicilian fruitfulness” that can be both alluring and destructive.

A Farewell to Tobacco illustrates the complex and sometimes contradictory feelings that people can have towards something they are addicted to. While Charles Lamb acknowledges the negative effects of smoking tobacco, he also expresses a deep appreciation for its unique properties and the pleasure it brings.

4. One Cigarette by Edwin Morgan

Till I hear the very ash
sigh down among the flowers of brass
I’ll breathe, and long past midnight, your last kiss.

One Cigarette by Edwin Morgan is a romantic and nostalgic reflection on the presence of a loved one, even after they are gone. The speaker misses their presence and finds comfort in the lingering scent of the cigarette left behind in the ashtray. The cigarette serves as a symbol of the speaker’s longing for their loved one and the memories they shared, and the imagery of the smoke and ash creates a sense of longing and yearning for the speaker’s loved one. The final lines of the poem convey the speaker’s desire to hold onto the memory of the loved one’s last kiss, even as the cigarette burns down to its ash.

5. Edifying Thoughts of a Tobacco Smoker, by Johann Sebastian Bach

And so, puffing contentedly,
On land, at sea, at home, abroad,
I smoke my pipe and worship God.

Edifying Thoughts of a Tobacco Smoker is a poem written by J.S. Bach, a famous classical composer. The poem uses the image of a pipe as a metaphor for life and death, drawing parallels between the pipe’s fragility and the transience of human existence. The poet compares the pipe, made of earthen clay, to his own mortal body, which will also return to the earth. The poem also notes that the pipe, like human fame, will eventually be reduced to ash.

Through the simple image of a pipe, J.S. Bach illustrates the idea that, like the pipe, human life is fragile, and that death is an inevitability that awaits us all. All things, including fame, will ultimately be reduced to dust. Despite its drawbacks, smoking can be a terrific moment for contemplation and meditation on the nature of life and death.

Final thoughts

As we come to the end of our journey through these poems about smoking, we hope you have enjoyed the different perspectives and styles presented. Whether you are a smoker or not, these verses have shared the unique experiences and emotions that come with the habit. We hope these poems have sparked your imagination and appreciation for the art of poetry. Until next time, keep the embers burning, and the words flowing smoothly.

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