Red Flames on the Roof


Cover of "The Fire"
Cover of The Fire

Traveling a back road under star-lit sky,

Depressed and sad after a long goodbye,

 It was over but I didn’t understand why,

I had time to ponder but no time to cry,

Few houses were here on this lonely road,

If there were lights, none of them showed,

But a light flickered a short distance ahead,

Why was this light on?  It was flickering red,

The glow was larger, red flames on the roof,

There was no time to waste, no time to be aloof,

Up to the door I ran and knocked once or twice,

Someone approached with words that weren’t nice,

“What do you want?” he shouted through the door,

“I’ll blast you with Betsy if you bother me anymore!”

“There are flames on your roof. Your house is on fire!”

“Your trickery won’t work,” he said, “I know you’re a liar.”

He fired one shot as I raced back to the car,

I needed to call the fire department, it couldn’t be far,

9-1-1, I was shaking but my fingers flew fast,

“What do you want?” a sleepy voice asked,

“There’s a house on fire,” I hurried to say,

“Tell me the address, and I’ll be on my way,”

 “The flames are roaring from this particular house,

If you don’t hurry, there’ll be no flames to dowse,”

“I’m warning you now, this better not be a prank,

I’m getting up to put water in the tank,”

I threw down the phone and raced to the door,

The fire was burning the house to the core,

I kicked open the door and raced down one hall,

I stooped down low and made myself small,

I didn’t feel brave, the heat was intense,

I couldn’t see far, the smoke was too dense,  

I managed to get over my stress and fears,

I heard voices crying, I knew there were tears,

Two small children, one under each arm,

I got them to safety without any harm,

A woman was found, collapsed in a heap,

I hoped she would awaken from this sleep,

Another person, I thought, the man at the door,

I hope that’s all, I can’t look for any more,

I tried to enter, but the heat drove me back,

The fire truck arrived then to take up the slack,

“It’s too late to save the house,” someone said,

“Anyone in there would now be dead,”

“Isn’t this where the chief lives with his wife Mage?

“Yes, there’s his truck, his coat and badge,”

“If someone had warned him his house was on fire,

This would not have become his funeral pyre,”

A fireman asked, “Stranger, what did you see?”

“I arrived too late, the heat was too much for me,

I saw a man carry two children and then his wife,

Without concern for his very own life,

He went inside, no reason or rhyme,

But he didn’t make it out the very last time.”

“The chief is a hero!” the fireman cried,

He saved his family before he died.”

I continued my journey wishing I had saved the chief,

But he wouldn’t listen; he called me a thief,

Without warning his family he went back to bed,

I’m glad they are safe, but he is dead.

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