Giving It Up


The amputated cigarette
Still nags. He can’t forget
The lost volcanic limb
So much a part of him,
The smoking finger which
In crooked wreathes would sketch
Detachment’s abstract rose,
His ritual of repose.

Maimed of this human part
The wounded gestures start.
Recoil with panic shock:
“Thank you—I do not smoke!”

And where the empty sleeve
Hangs, grows the make-believe:
“Thank God—no more a slave,
What will-power, too, I have!”

Trampling the hungry sense,
Forgets the lost pretence
That served his desperate need,
One habit by which freed
From bullying lusts and hurts,
Man smokes and mind asserts:
“I think and therefore am
And do not give a damn!”

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