The Tobacco Packet

The Tobacco Packet

Waiting for the bus today

An old green and gold coloured tobacco packet

Fluttering by me on the breeze

Like a shiny plastic-coated leaf on the wind

It was the same brand my Dad used to smoke

Dad used to sit in ‘his’ chair in the living room

He would patiently roll his own cigarettes, three at a time.

One for now, one for after his spoon melting cuppa and one before bed.

We reckoned Dad rolled the thinnest cigarettes in the world.

They looked like the little thin pipe cleaners

We used to use in art class at school when we were kids

When lit, they burned faster than the ‘Hindenburg’!

He said it stopped him from smoking too much.


We bought him a pipe before he set fire to himself.


© Kate McClelland 2016


20 thoughts on “The Tobacco Packet

  1. My uncle rolled his own and smoked pipe. I can’t stand cigarette smoke (I get water-eyed and stuffy instantly), but I’m fond of the smell of sweet tobacco because of him. Your poem reminded me of Uncle. Thank you, Kate. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jason, thank you so much! I have never smoked, but a waft of tobacco reminds me of family gatherings were the front room was full of blokes smoking and the air had a tint of blue from ceiling to shoulder height and the women and kids took over the kitchen and garden :0)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this poem, Kate, thank you for sharing. I used to smoke “real ciggies”, but went onto rollies when they became a more economical way to smoke. Now I couldn`t see myself smoking “real ciggies” ever again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Adele. Thank you so much for that.
    There is certainly an art to rolling your own ciggies! I’ve never smoked, but I have tried to roll ciggies – all thumbs and no co-ordination, they were a disaster! :0).
    Is the ‘loose’ tobacco different to the tobacco in cigarettes?
    It certainly smells different, but I thought that might be because the packet cigarettes were ‘dry’?


    1. Yes. Loose tobacco is additive-free, usually MUCH stronger, and smells worse. It tends to stain the fingernails yellow too, especially for those who roll their own.

      These days – in America anyway – there are owner/operator businesses where they sell different types of loose tobacco in bulk, and have self-help machines that quickly roll around 50 unfiltered cigs that look quite like the ones that come already packaged (which are full of chemicals).

      I don’t buy them, but I have a friend who used to because they are considerably cheaper – we stopped there returning from somewhere else. These days she “vapes.”

      I could never get the hang of rolling ANYTHING!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahahaha! I think my dad would have been horrified by the ‘loosie’ making machine even if it was cheaper! I think he felt a slight achievement when he completed his ‘loosie’s’ for the day. But then, if he thought it through and decided it could make him a few quid flogging the ciggy making kit, then it would be a different story:0)

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Aww I’m so glad you liked it. All the older men in our family smoked pipes or rolled their own. I have never smoked, but I did try on a few occasions to roll a cigarette, but I have 8 thumbs and two fingers so – hopeless :0)


  5. Hey Kate,

    A very tender and nostalgic composition, beautifully crafted, touched with gentleness, sentiment and fond memory. An absolute delight to read…I was there with you watching the green and gold sail slowly passed when your eyes went distant and disappeared into the words of a poem.

    I imagine your Dad enjoyed the pipe, the toys that go with it, and the rituals surrounding the smoking of it. It is very much a gentleman’s habit.

    I trust you’ll be writing and posting much more of your work. You have such talent Kate and the gentlest of touches.

    Namaste 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re so kind DN, you post such lovely encouraging comments to people.
    I am a bit shy about posting as there are so many excellent writers out there ( yourself included) and I’m just a ‘scribbler’ really.
    Also, annoyingly, if you put a piece of work on your blog, publications are loath to use it as they see it as ‘already published’ which is a bit of a ‘Catch 22’ as most writers want to gain an audience for their work and use their blogs etc., for this, but then you can’t submit for publication elsewhere.
    ‘Tis a conundrum indeed :0)

    Thanks again for commenting, really appreciate it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Kate,

      Now there you go again being kind and considerate and leaving me blushing with a compliment 🙂 Thank you for rouging cheeks…I too am a scribbler, my scruffy sparrow’s quill no measure against the many Eagles soaring here on WP!

      If one is genuinely entertained and appreciative of the work of others, I think it only proper that that enjoyment is expressed with sincerity. Your poetry stirred my thoughts, softened my heart, and left me tendered, gently floating away with the green and gold of a passing tobacco packet. Your lines are imbued with a weight of fond memories…perhaps it was sense of that happiness that also lingered with me.

      Please don’t be shy Kate, come step quickly into the fray and shine your bright light out there! Your work is up there with the best of them, and you will be supported, your work will be well received, and you will always have friends providing encouragement and good cheer. (I’ll bring the Earl Grey and chocolate Hobnobs if it helps to get you posting! Deal?)

      Thank you for advice regarding publication of previously published work. Hmmm, Catch 22 indeed. One hopes affordable opportunities to self-publish will encourage individuals to invest in their own work, although marketing and promotion becomes a whole different ball-game when operating independently of a publisher’s sphere of influence. One possibility for progress may lie in the power of the collective here on WP whereby many individuals come together under ‘one roof’ combining finite resources and offering/sharing their talent so as to facilitate publication and promotion….a permanent pool of resource if you like. I am possibly hinting towards the setting up of a virtual co-operative, a managed partnership with hundreds, perhaps thousands (!) contributing. I travel quite widely across WP and see so often many individuals self-publishing independently, so why not bring all of that expertise, knowledge and acquired practice together under one roof for the benefit of all on WP by sharing resources? If run as a business, with all profits being reinvested, I see possibilities of future expansion. Independent publication allows full control over the product and greater flexibilities in meeting the specific requirements of the author. Anyway, just thoughts inspired by a response to the elitism of main stream publishers and also by the re-Blog…perhaps this could be the next reincarnation of the traditional re-Blog?

      I enjoy being here Kate amongst the cool green and gentleness. Here there is an all pervading calm and opportunity to think and reflect: a haven amongst the fray. Thank you for making such provision…this roaming cat has thoroughly enjoyed his small space next to the babbling brooke flowing gently through your Blog. Thank you.

      Monday draws to a close, at least for me, and I had best take my leave with promise of return to share in the enjoyment of your work. Happy writing Kate, be bold.

      Hoping your week is blessed with the wonderful magic of words.

      Namaste 🙂



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