Smoke-Rings

by Robert Graves

Boy

Most venerable and learned sir,
Tall and true Philosopher,
These rings of smoke you blow all day
With such deep thought, what sense have they?

Philosopher

Small friend, with prayer and meditation
I make an image of Creation.
And if your mind is working nimble
Straightway you'll recognize a symbol
Of the endless and eternal ring
Of God, who girdles everything—
God, who in His own form and plan
Moulds the fugitive life of man.
These vaporous toys you watch me make,
That shoot ahead, pause, turn and break—
Some glide far out like sailing ships,
Some weak ones fail me at my lips.
He who ringed His awe in smoke,
When He led forth His captive folk,
In like manner, East, West, North, and South,
Blows us ring-wise from His mouth.