Text Illustrations
The Cold Within by James Patrick Kinney

Six humans trapped by happenstance

In bleak and bitter cold.

Each one possessed a stick of wood

Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs

The first man held his back

For the faces around the fire

He noticed one was black.

The next man looking cross the way

Saw one not of his church

And couldn’t bring himself to give

The first his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes.

He gave his coat a hitch.

Why should his log be put to use

To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought

Of the wealth he had in store

And how to keep what he had earned

From the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge

As the fire passed from his sight.

For all he saw in his stick of wood

Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group

Did naught except for gain.

Giving only to those who gave

Was how he played his game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hands

Was proof of human sin.

They didn’t die from the cold without

They died from the cold within.

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