Cold Within The Heart

Six people trapped together by chance

In the dark 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 woman held hers back,

For of the faces around the fire,

She noticed one was black.

The next man looking across the way

Saw not one of his church,

And couldn’t bring himself to give

The fire his stick of birch to the heathen.

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 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 the game.

The logs held tight in Death’s still hands

Were proof of human sin,

They died not from the cold without.

They died from the cold within.