I recited this poem in many of my EEO and diversity presentations (for over 25 years). I was criticized because the ending is so sad. For me, this poem serves as a warning as to how hate could kill us all.
What do you think?
The Cold Within
By Gordy Graham
Six human beings 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 on the faces around the fires
She noticed one was Black.
The next man looking cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
And could" t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch
The third one sat in tattooed 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 his 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 his sight
For all he saw in his stick of wool
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 log held tight in death's still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t fire from the cold without.
They died from the cold within.