Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Asleep in the Firehouse

As you peer through the windows
To the apparatus floor
The Engine and Ladder lay dormant
Coats hanging on their doors

A solitary light casts a glow
Over the sleeping trucks
As we firefighters are upstairs -
In our beds, safely tucked

Not a sound can be heard
Inside the station
Not a creature is stirring
Not even the Dalmatian

But all this changes
In the blink of an eye
With the clanging of the bell
And a voice from the ‘sky’

The bell and the loudspeaker
Echo off the walls
As the dispatcher sends us
To another call

Every bulb in the building
Awakens in light
Suddenly, without warning
Everything is bright

The sound of the exhaust fan
Whirs in the background
As the creaking door motor
Makes a hideous sound

Meanwhile, upstairs, in our beds
We are awakened
By the light and the noise
As if we were shaken

We jump out of our bunks
And into our clothes
And head toward the poles
Snapped from our repose

We don’t know what type of call it is
Or where we are going
We only know it’s an emergency
Our anticipation growing

We hit the poles and they slam
Like a loud clap of thunder
We head toward our trucks
Even as we wonder

What’s lying before us
When we roll out the door
The diesel motor comes to life
With a mighty roar

The shrill of the siren wails,
The air horn blasts
The sound must seem deafening
As we roll on past

Then everything goes quiet
As we pull out of sight
And the lights go dark again -
As the door closes tight

Tom Kenney - 2006

One Quiet Night

One quiet night
Everything was calm
No interruptions
By the sound of the alarm

We went into the station
And didn’t turn a wheel
Not a single run
It seemed unreal

It was the first ‘shutout’
We could remember
On a cold winter’s night
In early December

We stayed in the warmth
Of the firehouse that night
And when we emerged
The sun shone bright

We were paid just the same
Though we didn’t do a thing
I really felt guilty –
We were supposed to be working

We came back in that night
And marveled at our luck
But before we knew it
We were running for the truck

The alarm had sounded
Reporting a fire
As we rushed to the scene
The situation seemed dire

A family was trapped
And couldn’t get out
When we pulled up
We were met with shouts

“People are in there,
A family of five”
We knew no one in there
Could still be alive

But we didn’t let that stop us
As we stretched out our hose
To fight back the flames
Wishful thinking, I suppose

So we pushed forward
Advancing our line
Trying to get them
Before they ran out of time

By the time we had reached them
It was much too late
The fire had swallowed them -
What a horrible fate

As their lifeless bodies
Lay still on the stairs
We worked through the night
Until the dawn’s early glare

When the night finally ended
And the anguish sunk in
I swore I’d never feel guilty
About a quiet night again

Copyright 2005 - Tom Kenney

Peaceful Dawn

The stillness of a peaceful dawn
Is shattered by an angry horn
Sirens wailing
People hailing
As the night gives way to the morn

Moments before, as I lay sleeping
A shadowy figure, alone, was creeping
Bent on revenge
Here to avenge
A grudge that she’d been keeping

She didn’t care about the others
Mother, father, sister, brothers
Her only plan
To kill the man
Who had left her for another

Blinded by hate, she lit the fire
She ran away as flames grew higher
She didn’t care
Who might be there
Destruction was her only desire

We began to roll before sunrise
Shaking the sleep from our eyes
We saw the smoke
The radio spoke
“There are people trapped inside”

We begin by the day’s first light
Laying hose to begin the fight
We push forward
Moving toward
The fire that burned so bright

The family, sleeping, had no clue
Of what she was about to do
Or of the danger
From the stranger
Who was set on beginning anew

They woke to the sound of the alarm
Went to the stairs to escape from harm
Tried to evade it
But never made it
They died together, arm in arm

This morning had no happy ending
The final outcome left nothing pending
A family of five
No longer alive
And countless hearts in need of mending

As she lit the match, she felt reborn
No longer did she feel forlorn
Just walked away
A peaceful day
In the stillness of a peaceful morn

Tom Kenney - 2006

Junior Man

Every team must have a person
Who deals with all the shit
On the team of a fire crew
The junior man is it

He’s known as the fuckin’ new guy
A.K.A. - F.N.G.
And when there’s a job that’s distasteful
There’s no doubt whose it will be

We push him hard, and don’t let up
For this is how he learns
We’ve all been there, once before
We all must take our turn

It’s the responsibility of us all
To break our men in right
To teach them no task is too large or small
To end a person’s plight

To wade through sewage to find a drain
When a sewer line has burst
To crawl through windows to search for bodies
He always gets the worst

He does the jobs no one wants to do
For this is his lot
He also knows better than to complain
Whether he likes it or not

He patiently awaits for another new guy
To join our fiery clan
For then he knows the torch is passed
To another junior man

Tom Kenney - 2006

The Weight

None of us realize
The weight we all carry
On our shoulders
We just can’t see
How much shit is piled on us\
As we grow older

The truth be told
Those of us who are firefighters
Tend to take on more
We pile it on
Thinking our broad shoulders
Can handle any chore

Firefighters believe
That we can fix everything
Save everyone
The sad truth is
Sometimes, even firefighters
Can’t get it done

And when we fail
We can never let it go
Can never forget
We hold on to
All of the frustration and pain
But we bury it

‘Til after awhile
We can hide it no more
And it explodes
It’s only then
That we have to face it -
Our heavy load

Stress can pile up
To a point of destruction
Without our knowing
No recognition
Of what’s happening to us
Nothing showing

Then out of nowhere
With no hint and no warning
It knocks us cold
Like a ton of bricks
It can knock you on your ass
As it takes hold

From that point on
We must learn how to handle it
Or at least try
We don’t perceive
How these things from our past
Force us to deny

Deny our pain
Deny our failure and sorrow -
Our weakness, too
We don’t understand
That these very emotions are what
Help us get through

We must admit
That we’re only mortal men
Victims of our fate
And shed some tears
‘Cause it’s only then that we’re
Freed of the weight

Tom Kenney - 2006

You Think I’m Strong

As we go through our lives
And we’re faced with uncertainty
You count on me to be strong
For whatever the problem
Though we face it together
You think that I’m never wrong

You think I’m strong…but I’m not

As we arrive at the scene
Of yet another emergency
People count on me to be brave
They count on me to rescue them
And pull them to safety
Their loved ones to save

They think I’m brave…but I’m not

As we face down the fire
Amid the smoke and the chaos
My men look to me to be smart
They count on me
To make all the right decisions
Whether I’m capable or not

They think I’m smart…but I’m not

Sometimes it’s overwhelming
To always be the person
People look to for assistance
For to whom can I turn
And hand over my fate…
I’m just unable to take that chance

They think I’m…but I’m not

Tom Kenney - 2005

Stand Tall

It’s important to me to stand tall
Especially when my back’s to the wall
To hold my ground in those situations
Is to not shrink away from confrontation

In my job I’m often put to the test
As I try to prove that I’m the best
Standing tall against the danger is easy
But standing by my word can make me queasy

To live up to the standard to which I’ve set
Is a goal that I pray I never forget
For to not stand for something is not for me
If I’m to be all that I can be

They say a man’s word is his bond
As I gaze into tomorrow and beyond
I see that I can’t hope to change our way
Unless I live up to my word each day

To have any influence on someone else
You have to learn to be true to yourself
And that means to be steady on my course
Even if it seems I’ve backed the wrong horse

I pride myself now that I’ve grown older
That my words and my actions are now bolder
Not afraid to stand up for what I deem just
Careful to stay true and worthy of trust

Let no man question my values or motives
I’ve taught myself to become quite assertive
For the squeaky wheel gets all the grease
I’m no longer content with keeping the peace

I’ve decided I’ll keep on speaking my mind
Not allowing my words to be unjustly maligned
What’s important are results over the long haul
And that I battle on and continue to stand tall

Tom Kenney - 2005

Quiet Dignity

Some men need to swagger and boast – As they shake your hand in greeting
They need to show all the eyes around – That they’re someone who’s worth meeting
I am this…and I am that – Is all they have to say
Always talking…and never listening – For this is just their way

Men like this can charm their way – Into making you think they care
But don’t be fooled, they’re only thought – Is to making you aware
Aware that they…and they alone – Can take away your sorrows
A vote for them, they always say – Will secure us better tomorrows

These men are liars…these men are cheats – With very few exceptions
They’re not your father, watching out for you – They’re professional politicians
It’s not their fault, some people say – It’s just the way it goes
To be elected in this day and age – You need to step on toes

Whatever happened to public service – To putting others first
THAT’s the best any man can offer – These men offer the worst
They line their pockets with gold and votes – They’ll promise anything
But re-election’s the Holy Grail – In order to continue stealing

But don’t give up on all of us yet – There are still some worthy men
Men who think of others first – And sacrifice for them
These men are firemen, these men are cops - And soldiers…they are too
They’re assignment is to protect us all – And that’s exactly what they do

No matter whether they’re sick or tired – No matter what their pay
They always stand tall for you and me – Every single night and day
Not for glory…not for fame – Not for recognition
They do it for the love of others – That’s their holy mission

They risk their lives every day – And many of them die
They know the dangers going in – But never question why
They know this answer, it’s very simple – To protect and to serve
They’ve chosen this path for their life – So what do they deserve?

They deserve our thanks and our respect – They need our support, too
They deserve to know that we are grateful – Someone does what they do
But don’t expect to see them swagger – Or boast throughout the city
For these men are truly heroes - They walk with quiet dignity

Tom Kenney - 2006

Serving the People

When you serve the people
Not the City
You treat them with compassion
Not with pity

You know it’s your calling
And your duty
To be there for people
When they’re needy

When they’re in need of aid
To help them through
Their most horrible ordeal –
They look to you

For you’re their savior
And salvation
In their hour of need
And desperation

A firefighter can be proud
Of his service
When he offers it to people
Without prejudice

There’s no place for the privileged
Or for favorites
You just offer assistance to
Those who need it

There’s no greater purpose
Than helping others
Because in spite of everything
We’re all brothers

We’re all but a moment away
Of being the victim
We’re all held hostage by
Fate’s cruel whim

So treat all of the people
You encounter
With courtesy and respect
And with honor

They deserve to see the best
We have to give
It’s our mission to give our all
So others may live

So they may live in safety
And without fear
Just knowing we’ll help them
And that we’re here

So when we’re frustrated with
What’s going on
With our elected officials
...And so on

We have to remember that the
People don’t care
Which side that you’re on or
Which hat you wear

But when they need our help
And dial 911
They expect us to be there
Expect us to come

We’re all expected to follow
The Golden Rule
When dealing with others -
Wise man or fool

For guidance and patience
I pray to Thee, Lord
But serving the people -
Is it’s own reward

Copyright 2005 - Tom Kenney


Michael Morse said...

Hello Tom, strong stuff. Welcome to blogworld!

Anonymous said...

I agree very good stuff

Providence Fireman said...