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A Sad Ending

January 16, 2022

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.



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