As our nation limps through the polar vortex which has descended upon it, my heart goes out to those who are struggling to keep themselves and those dear to them warm and safe. At the same time, I am mindful of a far deeper need, one the goes well beyond our simple physical requirements. We must rise above our petty differences and work together if we are to unlock our full potential.
Rather than carry on about it myself, I thought you might enjoy this poem, written by an earnest man a half century ago:
The Cold Within by James Patrick Kinney
Six humans trapped by happenstance
In 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 man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He 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 passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.
The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought 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.