ancient fable. This version is by James Patrick Kenny
humans trapped by happenstance, in bleak and bitter cold.
possessed a stick of wood, or so the story's told.
dying fire in need of logs, the first man held his back,
the faces round the fire, he noticed one was black.
man looking 'cross the way saw one not of his church,
couldn't bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch.
third one sat in tattered clothes, he gave his coat a hitch.
would his log be put to use to warm the idle rich.
man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store,
to keep what he had earned from the lazy, shiftless poor.
black man's face bespoke revenge as the fire passed from his
he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the white.
man of this forlorn group did naught except for gain,
only to those who gave was how he played the game.
logs held tight in death's still hand was proof of human sin.
didn't die from the cold without.
died from the cold within.