A life that’s filled with sorrowful regret
For when Intention and What Happens clash
Becomes a bitter, shrinking cigarette
Reduced, in time, to little more than ash.
A harmful word a person quickly spoke
May burn the hearer’s skin or speaker’s eyes,
But what appears a fire is only smoke—
A tiny, rainless cloud that soon will rise
And bring about no cough or choking fit,
No emphysema, cancer, early death
To present people letting go of it
And taking in a new and fresher breath.
Who wouldn’t wear a fretting, frowning face
While grasping vanished smoke no hand could trace?
An Elizabethan Sonnet by Paul Burgess