DEATH OF A FIREMAN

When he came to our station,
so brash and full of fun;
He came to be a fireman,
this lad of twenty one.





His face was full and friendly,
his heart was brave and true;
He was a worthy member
of our trusty fire crew.





He loved to fight the fire,
he yearned to man the hose.
This was his heartís desire,
this the life he chose.





He didnít work for money,
the pay was far too poor;
His joy came from the people,
he saved from Fireís maw.





And then one fateful evening,
we heard the shrilling bell
That sent us on the fire call,
that took us close to Hell.





We went to do our duty,
without a doubt or fear,
Not knowing that this call-out
would leave us with a tear.





The house had seen itís good times,
it stood four storeys high
But now itís days were numbered,
itís glories long gone by.





There was no need to hurry,
no urgency, no haste;
This house was old and derelict,
consigned to be laid waste.





We jumped aboard our platform,
began to raise it high,
Till we were up above the roof,
framed in the evening sky.





He leaned across the guard rail,
began to ventilate,
Coaxed with axe and ceiling hook,
dislodging stubborn slate.





Till arrogant, impatient,
and full of reckless youth,
He left the platformís safety
and stepped upon the roof.





The joists were old and weakened,
this house had had itís day,
But without the slightest warning,
the entire roof gave way.





A thousand slates went crashing,
down to the basement floor;
Down a well of fearsome flames,
some sixty feet or more.





His eyes were wide in deep surprise,
his mouth a rounded ďOĒ
His arms were opened to embrace
the waiting fires below.





He fell through the inferno,
his helmet left his head,
And when we later found him,
the man that was was dead.





Heíd trained to do his duty
and he had passed his test
He entered into manhood,
the bravest and the best.





We took him to the Chapel,
whispered once more his name.
And then with love and dignity,
returned him to the flame.





Thus we restored his honour,
and now we know full well
That when we ride out to fires,
he is answering the bell


















   





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Poem by: Thomas Vaughan Jones



Midi "God Grant us Peace " is
used with permission
and is copyright © 2000 Bruce DeBoer

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