First Responders

Jay Sizemore

Jay Sizemore

Who runs toward the danger,
the gunshots, explosions, the fires,
buildings on the verge of collapse?
Who stands strong in that tidal wave,
that sea of panicked faces,
streaked with tears, soot, blood,
mouths incapable of words
or sounds other than incoherent cries,
and strides into that whirlpool of the unknown?

Some wear badges, some wear fatigues,
some simply wear blue jeans and skin,
called from the crowd like contestants
at a game show where the only prizes
to be won are the lives hanging in the balance,
all labels removed, all barriers down,
human hands clasping human hands
and pulling them from the wreckage.

Jay Sizemore writes poetry because he needs to. His attention span is too short to write novels. Blame the internet. Some of his work has seen daylight in journals online and in print. Although he considers a day job to be the enemy of imagination, he has found poverty to be the cruelest of muses. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three cats. 


  1. Really terrific piece.

  2. fantastic. You have captured these brave people.

  3. I found your poem while looking for a poem to print and hand out to those attending Patriots Day, Sept. 11 at First Christian Church, Tupelo, MS. We are recognizing “First Responders,” but will also include our servicemen and women. This event will be open to all those in our community, not just our congregation. We hope to fill the church to commemorate this day. I would like your permission to print the poem recognizing you as author on a small handout for each attendee to take with them. Your words have captured the thoughts for which I was searching. I hope to receive a positive response from you.
    Cheryl A. Reiss, Member and Elder at FCC

  4. Cheryl,

    I have no problem with you using the poem as long as I am credited, and I appreciate your interest in the piece. Thanks for asking. Let me know how the event goes.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.