Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WHILE CIGARETTES TO ASHES TURN, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

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WHILE CIGARETTES TO ASHES TURN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: He smokes - and that's enough,'
Last Line: While cigarettes to ashes turn.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Dreams; Love; Night; Smoking; Nightmares; Bedtime; Tobacco; Pipes; Cigars; Cigarettes


"HE smokes -- and that's enough," says Ma --
"And cigarettes, at that!" says Pa.

"He must not call again," says she --
"He shall not call again!" says he.

They both glare at me as before --
Then quit the room and bang the door, --

While I, their wilful daughter, say,
"I guess I'll love him, anyway!"


At twilight, in his room, alone,
His careless feet inertly thrown

Across a chair, my fancy can
But worship this most worthless man!

I dream what joy it is to set
His slow lips round a cigarette,

With idle-humored whiff and puff --
Ah! this is innocent enough!

To mark the slender fingers raise
The waxen match's dainty blaze,

Whose chastened light an instant glows
On drooping lids and arching nose,

Then, in the sudden gloom, instead,
A tiny ember, dim and red,

Blooms languidly to ripeness, then
Fades slowly, and grows ripe again.


I lean back, in my own boudoir --
The door is fast, the sash ajar;

And in the dark, I smiling stare
At one wide window over there,

Where some one, smoking, pinks the gloom,
The darling darkness of his room!

I push my shutters wider yet,
And lo! I light a cigarette;

And gleam for gleam, and glow for glow,
Each pulse of light a word we know,

We talk of love that still will burn
While cigarettes to ashes turn.

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