Casual Palaver

Episode 1 - Why Pipes?

September 23, 2020 Cody Kaufmann Season 1 Episode 1
Casual Palaver
Episode 1 - Why Pipes?
Casual Palaver
Episode 1 - Why Pipes?
Sep 23, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
Cody Kaufmann

On this first episode of the Poetry Piper Podcast I make my best effort to answer the question, why pipes?  Why smoke a tobacco pipe? I also read a poem about pipe smoking by Malcolm Guite.  Thanks for listened and be sure to visit me on instagram at poetrypiper.  

Show Notes Transcript

On this first episode of the Poetry Piper Podcast I make my best effort to answer the question, why pipes?  Why smoke a tobacco pipe? I also read a poem about pipe smoking by Malcolm Guite.  Thanks for listened and be sure to visit me on instagram at poetrypiper.  

First off, welcome to the first episode of the poetry piper.  My name is Cody Kaufmann and am so glad you decided to tune in.  This has been, like so many things that swirl in my mind, a laborious task to bring to fruition but at long last here we are.  My hope in sharing my heart and thoughts with you all is that I may inspire you to stop and think and wonder.  I will undoubtedly share a bit of poetry each week that I hope touches and encourages you and we will also talk about the joys of pipe smoking.  Not necessarily the mechanics of it but rather what it offers to the mind and the soul.  My goal is to bring other people into this conversation as well and talk about their experiences with poetry, literature, smoking, whisky, and all things relaxing and contemplative.  Think of this as your weekly unwind to have a glass and a smoke and allow me to help melt some stress away.  

On this first episode I want to answer the question why pipes?

CS Lewis has this to say: 

“I believe that many who find that "nothing happens" when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.”

Or Albert Einstein who said “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs."

Or Tolkien who said “Every morning I wake up and think good, another 24 hours' pipe smoking."

The tobacco pipe is an instrument that serves a wonderful purpose.  It forces you to stop what you are doing, stop running, stop chasing the clock.  It forces you to sit and think and be.  When you sit and smoke on a pipe the world for just those 30 minutes slows down.  Your mind begins to wonder, your eyes take notice of things going on around you and ideas being to form.  A thought earlier in the days comes back to you, an idea you had or something you needed to do.  As you watch the smoke float away in the air it seems as though it’s carrying with it all the stresses of the day.  It is equal parts relaxing, contemplative, reflective and stress relieving.  I was at a local cigar lounge a few weeks ago enjoying a pipe with a good friend who is a talker.  As we sat with a pipe in our teeth he said you know it’s kinda nice just sitting here.  A Doctor Barnstein is quoted from 1844 saying “Nowhere in the world will such a brotherly feeling of confidence be experienced as amongst those who sit together smoking their pipes.”

And yes maybe they are other ways to achieve the same result that don’t require you to smoke tobacco but honestly smoking a pipe is also pretty cool.  It gives you an opportunity to collect things with meaning and significance that you are able to hand down to the next generation.  It gives you stories and creates opportunity for great conversation and time spent with others.  It’s unique and perhaps an almost forgotten hobby.  There has to be a reason why so many great authors, scientists, mathematicians, world leaders, artists, poets, musicians and theologians have all advocated for the smoking of pipes?  There has to be something to it?  

There is a poem written by Malcolm Guite who is without question my favorite living poet that finally and officially convinced me to take the plunge into the hobby and I want to read it to you.  Regardless of this convinces you like it did me is entirely irrelevant.  I think you will undoubtedly see why those of us who do smoke pipes find it such a joy.  

Here is his poem.  

All the long day’s weariness is done

I’m free at last to do just as I will

Take out my pipe, admire the setting sun

Practice the art of simply sitting still

Thank God I have this briar bowl to fill,

I leave the world with all its hopeless hype,

Its pressures, and its ever-ringing till,

And let it go in smoke rings from my pipe


The hustle and the bustle, these I shun

The tasks that trouble and the cares that kill,

The false idea that there’s a race to run,

The pushing of that weary stone uphill,

The wretched i-phone’s all-insistent trill,

Whingers and whiners, each with their own gripe,

I pack them in tobacco leaves until

They’re blown away in smoke rings from my pipe


And then at last my real work is begun,

My chance to chant, to exercise the skill

Of summoning the muses, one by one,

To meet me in their temple, touch my quill

( I have a pen but quills are better still)

And when the soul is full, the time is ripe

Kindle the fire of poetry that will

Breathe and expand like smoke-rings from my pipe


Prince I have done with grinding at the mill,

These petty-pelting tyrants aren’t my type,

So lift me up and set me on a hill,

A free man blowing smoke rings from his pipe.

How I do love that poem and certainly sums up why I smoke a pipe.  These episodes will get longer as they go but I wanted to give you some quicker introductions into why pipes and why poetry so you know where I am coming from and where we are going.  

I’ll leave you with one more short poem.  As Froto Baggins begins his long and unknown journey in the Lord of the Rings his sits with his two companions and looks down the long road:

The Road goes ever on and on

*Down from the door where it began

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

I too sit here looking down a long and unknown road with no idea what’s ahead.  Where this journey takes us and what paths will merge with this one I can not say but my bag is packed and I hope you will join me.  It might be your only hope! Just kidding but please do come back.  Subscribe to the podcast. Hop into your podcast app and leave me a rating and a comment so I know you are there.  It helps me out a lot.  You can also follow me on Instagram at poetrypiper and it is there that I’d also love to engage with you so drop me a line.  God bless you all and until next time,  read a poem, smoke a pipe and hug the ones you love.