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Adapted from a poem
by James Patrick Kinney

Five human beings 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 woman held hers tight,

For of the faces 'round the fire,
          She noticed all were not alike.

The next man looking cross the way
          Saw no 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 wealth he had in store,

And how to keep what he had earned
          From the lazy, shiftless poor.


The last man of this forlorn group
          Did nothing 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.