John F. McCullagh

Gold Star - 4,762 Points (09/28/1954 / Flushing)

Triangle (03-25-1911) - Poem by John F. McCullagh


I will never forget the sound
of their bodies as they hit the ground.
How the gutter ran red with their blood
when no other escape could be found.

Our ladders were too short, you see-
They were eight floors from the ground.
All these young factory girls
like bundles of rags falling down.

I will always remember the screams
Of one girl with flames in her hair
who appeared at a window one moment,
then in the next, wasn’t there.

I walked through the ashes soon after
trying to make sense of things.
We counted three dozen more victims
and discovered a number of rings.

It started here on the eighth floor;
a stray ash from a last cigarette.
There was plenty of fuel for the fire
That this city will never forget.

Topic(s) of this poem: death, fire

Form: Ode

Poet's Notes about The Poem

It is March 26,1911 and a New York City Fire Inspector is processing the scene of the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory fire of the day before. the doors to the stairways were locked by the owners to prevent theft.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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