Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

1993 Floodstage Tribute: “Dog Mike,” poem by Erwin and Ruth Thompson for a brave flood fighter

DOG MIKE
by Erwin and Ruth Thompson

For Mike Sztukowski
remembering his heroic efforts during the 1993 flood

There's names, sometimes, that I can't spell,
They're hard enough to say!
So we just call him "Dog Mike,"
He answers, anyway!

He looks just like a pirate,
Long hair gathered in the back;
His eyes a bright and piercing blue,
His whiskers are jet black.

The dog: That's Sadie, has to be his ears;
Her step is clean and neat.
And Sadie is a lady,
Although she has four feet!

He should have been a blacksmith,
Back in the days of yore.
He drives a nail: two easy licks
Would maybe take me four!

The river rose, he started in to help
To save his neighbor's homes;
Never dreaming at the time
The worst was yet to come!

The battle lost, the river won;
It rose up overnight.
And breached their sandbag levee
They lost their gallant fight!

His own home, then, was threatened;
And then the one next door.
More sand, and sandbags, running low,
And then we got some more.

Friends and neighbors came to help,
It was a dedicated fight.
They built a levee three feet high,
Sometimes they worked all night!

The seepage overcame the pumps,
Al Golike brought his with a smile.
Ruth's nephew, Court, brought his;
It looked good, for awhile!

And then it rained, the power failed,
There was no reassuring sun.
It was a serious outage,
The pumps were quiet, all but one.

And still they fought,
With courage and a thread of hope.
They're in there, strainin' sweatin' tryin'.
When just at dusk the levee broke!

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