in bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
or so the story told.
Their dying fire in need of logs,
the first man held his back,
for,of the faces around the fire,
he noticed one man black.
The next man looking across 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 naught except for gain,
giving only to those who gave,
was how he played the game.
Their logs held tight in death's still hand,
was proof of human sin.
They didn't die from the cold without,
they died from the cold within.