Hero


He was the first to smell the smoke,
It was the middle of the night,
And he was instantly awake
For surely something wasn’t right.

He jumped and ran from room to room,
At each one, shouting the alarm.
His only thought his family,
That none of them should suffer harm.

He stayed inside the burning house
˜Til everyone was safe outside.
And that’s why only he would hear
When little baby Billy cried.

When the family had all gathered
Just to check on one another,
Only then had they discovered
They were missing baby brother.

He rushed into the baby’s room
And grabbed Billy’s pajama foot.
He drug him low across the floor
Through choking smoke and fire and soot.

The heat had caught his hair afire
And set his struggling lungs aflame
But he could hear the frantic call
Of little baby Billy’s name.

His dying thoughts were happy ones,
His loving family had been spared.
That he was faithful ˜til the end
Was all in life for which he cared.

“No life was lost,” the fire chief wrote,
In filling out his daily log,
“Unless you count the family pet,
The children’s big old mongrel dog.”


I bought Ruth a tiny miniature poodle to replace one that we think a bobcat or an eagle ran off with. As is the case with many small puppies, Trinket refused to eat and we had to force-feed her. That unpleasant task was, of course, Ruth’s. The first few nights, Trinket spent all of her hard earned energy, telling the world how we mistreated her by taking her away from her mother. To keep her quiet, I moved her box next to the bed and slept with my hand dangling in it. As a result, she bonded with me and, whereas the first poodle was strictly Ruth’s, Trinket wants to spend every waking hour with me. No human could ever give me a more enthusiastic welcome, even after I’ve only been gone a short time, than Trinket. Since I am six and a half feet tall and weigh two hundred and sixty pounds, Trinket would not even attempt to drag me from a burning house. She would probably just go outside and wait to enthusiastically greet me when I came out. I wrote Hero because a schoolteacher, who had seen my web site, wrote to me and asked if I would write a poem about heroes for her class. I thought her students would enjoy it better if it were about a dog. I didn’t mean for it to turn out so sad. A lot of my poems are done by request.

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