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A Firefighter, To His Love

by Ken Harnisch

Don’t ever let the stone-faced visage fool you

Or the sorrow in my silent eyes deter

I would happily succumb just to embrace you

And let the dammed up tears begin to stir

I might shudder in your arms, just like a baby

And splatter wild words against your breast

I might sob for countless hours, or just maybe

I will merely go to sleep and take my rest

I have cried inside at all the great destruction

I have breathed the noxious fires at the core

I have led the frightened crowds without instruction  

And tomorrow, I will go back there for more

But tonight, I need the tenderness you give me

Tonight I need the balm that is your soul

Tonight I need your love, so, love, forgive me

I am lost, and scared myself, and feeling old

But when the morning’s sunrise finds me rested

And when your tender lips have touched my cheek

I will know my weary heart, which has been tested

Will have found the gentle respite that I seek

And when the smoke is vapor, and forgotten

And when the ruined stone is swept away

I will know these wounds were not so ill begotten

And cherish you, who saw me through the day  

09/28/2001

Author's Note: an Ode to the FDNY and the ones at home who kept them going, when all the going was to hell. Written on 9/28/01 in New York City, NY.

Posted on 10/24/2002
Copyright © 2021 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 10/25/02 at 12:50 AM

One of the most passionate poems I've read in a long while, Ken, no matter who inspired it. Let Shakespeare stand straight up from his grave!

Posted by Kate Demeree on 10/25/02 at 01:44 AM

There are teardrops and more upon my cheek... and the silence is indeed deep... this is one of my favorits...

Posted by Melissa Arel on 10/28/02 at 01:15 AM

Its been a while since I have been able to get on Pathetic but I must praise you, Ken, for your words have swept me away.. this is amazing. I love it!

Posted by Rhodora M Fitzgerald on 03/17/03 at 05:18 PM

You write with such heart Ken! I loved this! (I work with a lot of volunteer fire fighters and I know they'd love this too.) I really like your writing style!

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