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The Cold Within - a poem by James Patrick Kinney
I read this poem, by James Patrick Kinney, in the Dear Abby column of the Naples Daily News today and wanted to share it with others, especially during this holiday season. It is a prime example of how we injure and deprive ourselves because of our own silly prejudices, resentments and disappointments. In this season of giving, are we truly giving of ourselves unselfishly, or are we harboring resentments and disappointments of which we can't let go? Are we enjoying those around us or are we simply tolerating others that we really envy and despise? How we treat others and ourselves is what this holiday season is all about. Will it be a Merry or Unmerry Christmas this year? It is our choice.
When I read this poem it reinforced the idea that we create our own prisons and create our own "deaths." It is in how we treat the world and treat ourselves that determines whether we live a fulfilling life or one that is meaninless and foolish. Although, I say I live in "paradise" here in Naples, Florida, it is a life of meaning for me and those around me. I am active in the community, I try to give back by "singing for scholarships," and I work so as not to forget the daily toil of others. So, I am able to look at my face in the mirror each morning and not shy away or cast my eyes down.
If we can give to others and understand other's daily life, we can grow and live in harmony with others. Peace this holiday season comes from each one of us, not just with the end of "wars" such as the Iraq War, although the end of this war goes a long way in helping to reach peace in that area of the world. This poem illustrates how each one of us has the opportunity at sometime in life to unselfishly give of ourselves and make a definite choice as to a peaceful or unpeaceful holiday season. Each one of us has the opportunity sometime during our lifetime to choose "life" instead of "death."
THE COLD WITHIN
Six humans trapped in happenstance
In dark 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 of the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.
The next man looking across the way
Saw not one 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 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.
The 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.
by James Patrick Kinney