Six humans trapped by happenstance in black 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 the faces around the fire she noticed, one of them was black.
The next man looking across the way saw one not of his church;
He couldn't bring himself to give, the first his stick of birch.
The third 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.
And 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 was proof of human sin;
They didn't die from the cold without, they died from the cold within.
James Patrick Kinney