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I Smoke My Pipe

James Whitcomb Riley 1849 (Greenfield) – 1916 (Indianapolis)



I can't extend to every friend
In need a helping hand--
No matter though I wish it so,
'Tis not as Fortune planned;
But haply may I fancy they
Are men of different stripe
Than others think who hint and wink,--
And so--I smoke my pipe!

A golden coal to crown the bowl--
My pipe and I alone,--
I sit and muse with idler views
Perchance than I should own:--
It might be worse to own the purse
Whose glutted bowels gripe
In little qualms of stinted alms;
And so I smoke my pipe.

And if inclined to moor my mind
And cast the anchor Hope,
A puff of breath will put to death
The morbid misanthrope
That lurks inside--as errors hide
In standing forms of type
To mar at birth some line of worth;
And so I smoke my pipe.

The subtle stings misfortune flings
Can give me little pain
When my narcotic spell has wrought
This quiet in my brain:
When I can waste the past in taste
So luscious and so ripe
That like an elf I hug myself;
And so I smoke my pipe.

And wrapped in shrouds of drifting clouds,
I watch the phantom's flight,
Till alien eyes from Paradise
Smile on me as I write:
And I forgive the wrongs that live,
As lightly as I wipe
Away the tear that rises here;
And so I smoke my pipe.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:12 min read
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James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry respectively. more…

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    "I Smoke My Pipe" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 20 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/20914/i-smoke-my-pipe>.

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