Hale’s Fire

 

‘Fire!’
The cry went echoing wide,
Down the deserted street
In the gray light of dawn
That dread word was cried.
Now the sound of feet
In the early morn –
‘Fire!’

‘Fire!’
Then windows up are flung,
People roused from bed
In the gray light of dawn
Pale faces out are hung,
Waked as from the dead
In the early morn –
‘Fire!’

‘Fire!’
Oh, hear the frenzied shout
Ringing through the town
In the wan light of dawn!
Now the engine’s out,
Bells with clamour drown
The other sounds of morn –
‘Fire!’

‘Fire!’
The horses wild with fear
Drag the engine round
The corner of the street,
Shouts from far and near,
Rumblings o’er the ground,
Many clattering feet –
‘Fire!’

‘Fire!’
Crashing panes of glass,
Flames and clouds of smoke
In the sick light of dawn:
Hear the people shout,
The roof has fallen in,
Oh, fearful fiery morn –
‘Fire!’

‘Fire!’
The flames die down at last,
The shop all gutted stands,
In the broad light of dawn:
The engine back has passed
Between the huddled bands
In the early morn –
‘Fire!’