On the day of the K-Days parade, I was walking by our local fire hall on Norwood Boulevard, and out front sat an old Edmonton Fire Department fire truck. It was getting a tune-up before being driven in the parade. As I stood watching, the fire alarm went off, and all the firemen and the trucks took off—except of course, the old fire engine. After seeing that happen I wrote this poem.
The siren blared and you were off
Carrying your firemen into the unknown.
A false alarm
Maybe Mother left the oven on too long
The toaster shorted out and caught fire
Father fell asleep smoking and live ashes danced on the mattress
Back yard leaves burning, smouldered, then blew into the neighbour’s yard
Kitten up a tree.
Each time you left the station you never knew
Would it be something sad or serious
Or silly and benign?
Now you are a museum piece
Good for parades
or for going around Commonwealth Stadium when The Eskimos get a touchdown
Children get to sit in your driver’s seat and dream of being firefighters
You are shiny and clean now
No longer streaked with the sweat and smoke of the life you were created for
Today’s sirens fade and only you are left behind.