One of the reasons May 4 was selected as International Firefighters’ Day is because it’s the feast day of Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters. It was created in 1999 after five members of a Fire Brigade perished in an Australian wildfire. Observe International Firefighters’ Day with education, with prevention, with a poem.


Hey, Chief! – by Don Mathis

“Hey, Chief! Your replacement’s here,”

the fireman shouts with a smile

as a young child,

complete with suit and boots,

enters the station.


Wide-eyed wonder

is shared with all

waiting for a call.

“What’s that? What’s that?”


Tailored explanations,

politely proffered

by hard flame-fighters,

saturate and satisfy

a five-year-old mind.


“Show me the tool that you can

open up a car like a can-opener.”

This request stumps the guide

and brings a smile

when he realizes

the answer is

“The Jaws of Life.”


“Why? Why? Why?”

is the answer to each answer.

“Two steering wheels?”

“A pick-ax?”

“A mask?”

But no one can come close

to, “Who enjoyed it the most;

the firemen or the five-year-old?”


About the Author: Don Mathis

Don’s life revolves around the many poetry circles in South Texas. His poems have been published in a hundred periodicals and broadcasted on TV and radio. Don has written news and reviews for various media and countless editorials about fatherhood. His political correspondence has prompted personal replies from George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and numerous other lawmakers. Find his work in the Daily Dad, the Good Men Project, and many other publications.

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