Smoking Spiritualized

I was sitting in a cigar lounge in Jeffersonville Indiana, just across the river from Louisville, this week when I had the chance to start a conversation with another guy sitting near me. We were both from out of town and there on business and we got to talking as so often happens in the cigar community about a wide variety of topics many of them deep or personal.

During the course of the conversation he told me about a poem written by an 18th century pastor about the joys and deep spiritual meaning behind smoking cigars and pipes. It got my attention to say the least. In fact, to be transparent, the fact there was something out there that combined history, pastors, poetry, and cigars that I had not heard of almost felt like a personal failing that I had missed it.

The poem is called Smoking Spiritualized and was written by Ralph Erskine. Ralph Erskine (1685-1752) was a Scottish churchman and pastor who saw some serious spiritual analogies in smoking tobacco.

This Poem is written in two parts, and in looking into the history of this piece a bit more I discovered that we are only sure that Erskine wrote the second part. In the history we have, he only claims the second part. It isĀ  possible that he wrote the first part at an earlier date and was simply making mention that the second part was a new addition. Or, the first part may have been written by a second unknown author.

Either way, in looking up the poem I immediately loved it. To be fair, having the topic that it does, made it almost a foregone conclusion that I would like it. But it is more than that. There is a sense of deep introspection and contemplativeness that lives within this work.

So without further ado, here is the Poem…

Smoking Spiritualized

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
Thy 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.

Let us know what you think of this poem by visiting the Discussion Board and clicking on the thread about this post. This is Pastor Smokey, hoping that gave you something to think about as you smoke your next cigar.