Six humans trapped by happenstance In 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 flame She noticed one was black

The second mann looking all about Saw no one of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give The fire his stick of birch

The rich man sat and thought Of all the wealth he had in store
Why should his stick be used to warm The lazy, shiftless poor?

The poor man sat in tattered clothes He gave his coat a hitch
No way would he let his stick be used By the greedy selfish rich

The black man bitter and full of rage Held his oak branch tight
For all he saw in his stick of wood Was a chance to spite the white

The last man of this forlorn group Did nothing except for gain
Giving only to those who gave Was how he played the game

The branches held in fate’s cruel hands Was proof of human sin
They didn’t die from the cold without The died from THE COLD WITHIN.

-James Patrick Kenny