Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘tobacco’

We are two travelers, Roger and I.
Roger’s my dog.—Come here, you scamp!
Jump for the gentlemen,—mind your eye!
Over the table,—look out for the lamp!
The rogue is growing a little old;
Five years we’ve tramped through wind and weather,
And slept out doors when nights were cold,
And ate and drank—and starved—together.

We’ve learned what comfort is, I tell you!
A bed on the floor, a bit of rosin,
A fire to thaw our thumbs (poor fellow!
The paw he holds up there’s been frozen),
Plenty of catgut for my fiddle
(This out door business is bad for strings),
Then a few nice buckwheats hot from the griddle,
And Roger and I set up for kings!

No, thank ye, Sir,—I never drink;
Roger and I are exceedingly moral,—
Aren’t we, Roger?—See him wink!—
Well, something hot, then,—we won’t quarrel.
He’s thirsty, too,—see him nod his head?
What a pity, Sir, that dogs can’t talk!
He understands every word that’s said,—
And he knows good milk from water-and-chalk.

The truth is, Sir, now I reflect,
I’ve been so sadly given to grog,
I wonder I’ve not lost the respect
(Here’s to you, Sir!) even of my dog.
But he sticks by, through thick and thin;
And this old coat, with its empty pockets,
And rags that smell of tobacco and gin,
He’ll follow while he has eyes in his sockets.

There isn’t another creature living
Would do it, and prove, through every disaster,
So fond, so faithful, and so forgiving,
To such a miserable, thankless master!
No, Sir!—see him wag his tail and grin!
By George! it makes my old eyes water!
That is, there’s something in this gin
That chokes a fellow. But no matter!

We’ll have some music, if you ’re willing,
And Roger (hem! what a plague a cough is, Sir!)
Shall march a little—Start, you villain!
Paws up! Eyes front! Salute your officer!
’Bout face! Attention! Take your rifle!
(Some dogs have arms, you see!) Now hold your
Cap while the gentlemen give a trifle,
To aid a poor old patriot soldier!

March! Halt! Now show how the rebel shakes
When he stands up to hear his sentence.
Now tell us how many drams it takes
To honor a jolly new acquaintance.
Five yelps,—that’s five; he’s mighty knowing!
The night’s before us, fill the glasses!—
Quick, Sir! I’m ill,—my brain is going!—
Some brandy,—thank you,—there!—it passes!

Why not reform? That’s easily said;
But I’ve gone through such wretched treatment,
Sometimes forgetting the taste of bread.
And scarce remembering what meat meant,
That my poor stomach’s past reform;
And there are times when, mad with thinking,
I’d sell out heaven for something warm
To prop a horrible inward sinking.

Is there a way to forget to think?
At your age, Sir, home, fortune, friends,
A dear girl’s love,—but I took to drink,—
The same old story; you know how it ends.
If you could have seen these classic features,—
You needn’t laugh, Sir; they were not then
Such a burning libel on God’s creatures:
I was one of your handsome men!

If you had seen her, so fair and young,
Whose head was happy on this breast!
If you could have heard the songs I sung
When the wine went round, you wouldn’t have guessed
That ever I, Sir, should be straying
From door to door, with fiddle and dog,
Ragged and penniless, and playing
To you to-night for a glass of grog!

She’s married since,—a parson’s wife:
’Twas better for her that we should part,—
Better the soberest, prosiest life
Than a blasted home and a broken heart.
I have seen her? Once: I was weak and spent
On the dusty road: a carriage stopped:
But little she dreamed, as on she went,
Who kissed the coin that her fingers dropped!

You’ve set me talking, Sir; I ’m sorry;
It makes me wild to think of the change!
What do you care for a beggar’s story?
Is it amusing? you find it strange?
I had a mother so proud of me!
’Twas well she died before.—Do you know
If the happy spirits in heaven can see
The ruin and wretchedness here below?

Another glass, and strong, to deaden
This pain; then Roger and I will start.
I wonder, has he such a lumpish, leaden,
Aching thing in place of a heart?
He is sad sometimes, and would weep, if he could,
No doubt remembering things that were,—
A virtuous kennel, with plenty of food,
And himself a sober, respectable cur.

I’m better now; that glass was warming.—
You rascal! limber your lazy feet!
We must be fiddling and performing
For supper and bed, or starve in the street.—
Not a very gay life to lead, you think?
But soon we shall go where lodgings are free,
And the sleepers need neither victuals nor drink:—
The sooner, the better for Roger and me!

 

Read Full Post »

An old sweetheart of mine! – Is this her presence here with me,
Or but a vain creation of a lover’s memory?
A fair, illusive vision that would vanish into air
Dared I even touch the silence with the whisper of a prayer?

Nay, let me then believe in all the blended false and true –
The semblance of the old love and the substance of the new, –
The then of changeless sunny days, the now of shower and shine –
But Love forever smiling – as that old sweetheart of mine.

This ever-restful sense of home, though shouts ring in the hall.
The easy chair – the old book-shelves and prints along the wall;
The rare Habanas in their box, or gaunt church-warden-stem
That often wags, above the jar, derisively at them.

As one who cons at evening o’er an album, all alone,
And muses on the faces of the friends that he has known,
So I turn the leaves of Fancy, till, in shadowy, design,
I find the smiling features of an old sweetheart of mine.

The lamplight seems to glimmer with a flicker of surprise,
As I turn it low – to rest me of the dazzle in my eyes,
And light my pipe in silence, save a sigh that seems to yoke
Its fate with my tobacco and to vanish with the smoke.

‘Tis a fragrant retrospection, – for the loving thoughts that start
Into being are like perfume from the blossom of the heart;
And to dream the old dreams over is a luxury divine –
When my truant fancies wander with that old sweetheart of mine.

Though I hear beneath my study, like a fluttering of wings,
The voices of my children and the mother as she sings –
I feel no twinge of conscience to deny me any theme
When Care has cast her anchor in the harbor of a dream –

In fact, to speak in earnest, I believe it adds a charm
To spice the good a trifle with a little dust of harm, –
For I find an extra flavor in Memory’s mellow wine
That makes me drink the deeper to that old sweetheart of mine.

O Childhood-days enchanted! O the magic of the Spring! –
With all green boughs to blossom white, and all bluebirds to sing!
When all the air, to toss and quaff, made life a jubilee
And changed the children’s song and laugh to shrieks of ecstasy.

With eyes half closed in clouds that ooze from lips that taste, as well,
The peppermint and cinnamon, I hear the old School bell,
And from “Recess” romp in again from “Blackman’s” broken line,
To smile, behind my “lesson,” at that old sweetheart of mine.

A face of lily beauty, with a form of airy grace,
Floats out of my tobacco as the Genii from the vase;
And I thrill beneath the glances of a pair of azure eyes
As glowing as the summer and as tender as the skies.

I can see the pink sunbonnet and the little checkered dress
She wore when first I kissed her and she answered the caress
With the written declaration that, “as surely as the vine
Grew ’round the stump,” she loved me – that old sweetheart of mine.

Again I made her presents, in a really helpless way, –
The big “Rhode Island Greening” – I was hungry, too, that day! –
But I follow her from Spelling, with her hand behind her – so –
And I slip the apple in it – and the Teacher doesn’t know!

I give my treasures to her – all, – my pencil – blue-and-red; –
And, if little girls played marbles, mine should all be hers, instead!
But she gave me her photograph, and printed “Ever Thine”
Across the back – in blue-and-red – that old sweetheart of mine!

And again I feel the pressure of her slender little hand,
As we used to talk together of the future we had planned, –
When I should be a poet, and with nothing else to do
But write the tender verses that she set her music to…

When we should live together in a cozy little cot
Hid in a nest of roses, with a fairy garden-spot,
Where the vines were ever fruited, and the weather ever fine,
And the birds were ever singing for that old sweetheart of mine.

When I should be her lover forever and a day,
And she my faithful sweetheart till the golden hair was gray;
And we should be so happy that when either’s lips were dumb
They would not smile in Heaven till the other’s kiss had come.

But, ah! my dream is broken by a step upon the stair,
And the door is softly opened, and – my wife is standing there:
Yet with eagerness and rapture all my visions I resign, –
To greet the living presence of that old sweetheart of mine.

Read Full Post »

Lit cigarette

Image via Wikipedia

Slavery

Cigarettes:
First, you take one.  Then –
They take you.

———————-

* The haiku I write are lines of 3-5-3 syllables instead of 5-7-5.
See Haiku article here for explanation, if needed:

https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/haiku/

© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2011.

Read Full Post »