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U3A Writing: From Ash To Ashes

Vera Sanderson presents a cautionary poem. I do hope you are not smoking a cigarette while reading it!

This is the tale of a bright young lad
A bit of a show-off, but not too bad.
He didn’t do drugs, he wasn’t a fool
But he smoked a cig or two after school
Trying to be a big tough man,
And that’s where all his grief began.
Just the odd cig or two at first
And then he got a whole lot worse.
He simply had to smoke the weed
To pass his exams and to succeed.
The habit hit him really bad
So he nicked the cigs from shops and dad.

His family sat in the living room
Smoking like chimneys in the gloom.
The price of cigs had soared so high
They sacrificed their TV Sky,
Their car, computer, online phone,
And holidays were spent at home.

His sister chain-smoked like the rest.
Her baby had a wheezy chest,
But that, they readily assumed,
Was the winter weather, not the fumes
Of secondary smoking.
Still she misses him a lot.
(She found her baby in his cot

In his twenties, though thin and yellow,
He was a lovely, happy fellow.
In the pub with all his mates,
Smoking, boozing, life was great.
And while he coughed his life away
Smoking thirty cigs a day,
He met a bird who was his match,
For she was smoking stacks of fags.
He knew that she would never nag.
Together in his smoke-filled pad,
The ashtrays full, like Mum and Dad,
They were an item straight away;
He swore that he would never stray.

At forty-five while going home
He gave a funny little groan.
(For fish and chips he’d gone to town),
But now the chips were really down.
He clutched his chest and gave a cry.
Just then a neighbour passing by
Saw him stagger in a trance
And promptly phoned for an ambulance.

The medics came. It was too late;
They tried in vain to resuscitate.
The poor, sick lad could not survive;
His heart and lungs were smoked alive,
Like a kipper on a rack-oh
All through smoking foul tobacco.

We went to his funeral at the Crem
Attended by a few grey men.
And as his coffin slid away,
I thought I heard the bright lad say,

“From ash to ashes,
Dust to dust,
Give up smoking.
You know it’s a must!”


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