Robert William Service
The Smoking Frog - Poem by Robert William Service
Three men I saw beside a bar,
Regarding o'er their bottle,
A frog who smoked a rank cigar
They'd jammed within its throttle.
A Pasha frog it must have been
So big it as and bloated;
And from its lips the nicotine
In graceful festoon floated.
And while the trio jeered and joked,
As if it quite enjoyed it,
Impassively it smoked and smoked,
(It could now well avoid it).
A ring of fire its lips were nigh
Yet it seemed all unwitting;
It could not spit, like you and I,
Who've learned the art of spitting.
It did not wink, it did not shrink,
As there serene it squatted'
Its eyes were clear, it did not fear
The fate the Gods allotted.
It squatted there with calm sublime,
Amid their cruel guying;
Grave as a god, and all the time
It knew that it was dying.
And somehow then it seemed to me
These men expectorating,
Were infinitely less than he,
The dumb thing they were baiting.
It seemed to say, despite their jokes:
"This is my hour of glory.
It isn't every frog that smokes:
My name will live in story."
Before its nose the smoke arose;
The flame grew nigher, nigher;
And then I saw its bright eyes close
Beside that ring of fire.
They turned it on its warty back,
From off its bloated belly;
It legs jerked out, then dangled slack;
It quivered like a jelly.
And then the fellows went away,
Contented with their joking;
But even as in death it lay,
The frog continued smoking.
Life's like a lighted fag, thought I;
We smoke it stale; then after
Death turns our belly to the sky:
The Gods must have their laughter.
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