Cleaning out drawers and closets today I came across a paper that I’ve saved for twenty-six years. It was a hand-out for “Cultural Awareness Month” back in 1994, prepared by the Federally Employed Women, Inc.
After rereading the poem printed on the page, I am inspired to share it with others. I love this poetic story so much, I plan to frame it and hang it up somewhere.
I have a strange adoration for rhyming poetry ☺, can’t deny it. Even more, I love poetry with a clear and beautiful meaning. The poem below exemplifies both of these characteristics with bountiful honor.
The Cold Within, written by American poet, James Patrick Henry, in the 1960s, stands up as a testiment of the stubborn nature of humanity.
Share your thoughts on this!
The Cold Within
Six humans trapped by happenstance
In a 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 hers back
For of the faces around the fire
She 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 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 black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passes 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.
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.
-James Patrick Henry