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The Cold Within
by George Kirby

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 woman held her's [down],
For on the faces ‘round the fire,
she noticed one was [dark brown].

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire 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 [dark] 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 [those whose skin was light].

And the last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain,
Giving to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.