Wednesday, 31 May 2017


“Smoking is related to practically every terrible thing that can happen to you.” - Loni Anderson

This week, Poets United is celebrating the World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017. The Challenge for participants is to: “Write a new poem in which you address your experience (or thoughts) about smoking tobacco.” Here is mine:


That tawny booze in sparkling glass
Promises me forgetfulness;
And I drink it, sip after stinging sip,
Even though it burns my mouth
And ignites the lining of my gullet.
I drink it seeking solace…

That hateful cigarette in elegant packaging,
Promises me comfort;
And I smoke it, puff after stifling puff,
Even though it chokes my breath
And irritates the lining of my raw airways.
I smoke it seeking solace…

That pitiful ageing woman, made up to hide her sins
Promises me intimacy;
And I buss her, kiss after cardboard kiss,
Even though her lips are like sandpaper
And abrade the self esteem of my skin.
I kiss her seeking solace…

That crashing discordant noise, passing off as music
Promises me fun;
And I hear it, chord after jangling chord,
Even though the crashing rhythm deadens me
And rasps my eardrums till they puncture.
I hear it seeking solace…

That medication in the prescription bottle
Promises me sleep;
And I swallow it, pill after sugar-coated pill,
Even though it dulls my intellect,
And gives me nightmares in fitful sedation.
I swallow it seeking solace…

And solace I find not, it is long gone,
Like your promises;
And I seek you and find you not,
For you have disappeared, vanished, gone away,
And left me here bereft, disconsolate,
Seeking the solace I’ll never find
In alcohol, nicotine, sex, rock’n’roll or drugs…


  1. We search for solace in so many places. You have captured modern society very well here.

  2. Wow! Wow! Wow! This poem gained power as it rolled out because of words and images you chose, so--though the path might be predictable--reading it is an expanding joy. And I felt the ending as a rhetorical question: What next? In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy tries fencing and swimming (according to the Brilliant A&E version), but I suggest Buddhism, Nature and Poetry. Thank you. Thank you.

  3. The last line says it all - there is no solace no peace or promise in any of those listed.... that is an inward journey alone...bkm

  4. Such a sad poem, I guess we have all looked for solace, in the wrong places? Makes me think of the songs, "looking for love in all the wrong places...." Wonderful poem!

  5. And solace I find not, it is long gone,
    Like your promises;
    And I seek you and find you not,
    For you have disappeared, vanished, gone away

    My goodness this is touching! Beautifully rendered!

  6. I love this - it is a brilliant write. Such strength in its sadness of solace unfound.
    Anna :o]

  7. Really love where 'smoking' theme led this amazing poem to. How wonderfully you excavate the truth from the debris of experiences.

  8. What a glorious and well written poem this is allowing the reader to visualize so clearly each verse. Well done indeed.

  9. Luv how you have catalogued the tobacco alongside the other other unrewarding searches to solace. The last verse tilts to a mystery. Now we want to know to where does this quest continue

    Nice response to the prompt

    Much love...

  10. The imagery in this poem is so vivid..

  11. Spot on and well expressed I love this and can relate to it. Fantastic poem

  12. A brilliant response to the prompt. This search for solace seems common nowadays, and it's painful to watch. Affecting write!

  13. Looking for alleviation of pain in all the wrong places. Smoking... just another crutch which kills.