Johnny Meets the Blue Dog I once was Johnny Newchum, New to the fire game.

Now I’m Johnny-won’t-be-leaving, But I’m Johnny, just the same. I’ve looked and listened, studied hard, Fought fires both near and far, And worked with mates and strangers, And we’ve debriefed at the bar. I’ve thought I knew what fire could do, And I’ve found that I was wrong; I wrote it down all in a verse, And I thought that I was strong. Now nine short months are past and by, And I thought I was okay, Then summer it came rushing back With one hot, windy day. And on that day, and far from home, From friends and family dear, I thought of wind and heat and fuel, And I was filled with fear. I met the blue dog of anxiety, That I’d never met before, Though I’d seen the flames and smelled the smoke, And heard the fire’s roar. I went, in two short hours, From a focussed, thinking man, To a weeping, shambling ruin, And back to Flowerdale I ran. I’ve been counselled and been doctored, And I’m alright, I think, But now I know how close I am To that collapsing brink. So Johnny’s met the blue dog, And I’ve fallen over the line, But I’ve mates and friends around me, And I think that I’ll be fine. 12th Nov 2009 Peter Auty

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