This is a no smoking zone

Spontaneous combustion causes serious
disease, can lead to loss of life. Your own's
your business, but our rules are not 'imperious',
'intrusive', as you claim. We need these zones
because the secondary effects, disputed
though they may be, are still of great concern
to many. And it cannot be refuted:
this is a growing problem. You must learn
to burn in private, you who are less fortunate,
less (dare I say) enlightened. Keep your gods
away from thunderbolts. If we're importunate,
it's for the common good. Silk, amber rods,
and cats don't mix. Don't try it. Keep the hatches
shut fast when not in use. Don't play with matches.

© Peter Howard

first published in The Cambridge Insider 1997