The Cold Within
I first read The Cold Within poem when I was in ninth grade, in a creative writing class I was taking at the time. The words and the meaning behind this poem have stuck with me ever since. This was twenty-four years ago, and anytime I think about this poem and its meaning, it reminds me that everything is all about perspective.
With all the negativity going on in the world, and with people forgetting how to treat each other, I wanted to share some perspective. I thought it would be a great time to share this particular poem with y’all. It’s time to start sharing some good for a change.
After you read it, think about the message behind it, and what it means to you. I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments. It’s amazing that after all these years, this poem is still a timeless example of how we unknowingly hurt ourselves (and each other) with our own ignorance.
We forget that working together can accomplish so much more than we realize. Not only that, but how wrong our perceptions can be. It’s also a great example of what can happen when we make assumptions without knowing all the facts.
With that being said, let me share with you this poem I’ll never forget. Please feel free to share it, it’s a powerful message for all of us.
If you love poetry and inspiration, you’ll love Melodies of the Heart: A book of poetry and inspirational messages
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.
~ James Patrick Kinney.
There’s a very informative summary of the meaning behind this poem, breaking it down by each stanza. It’s an amazing glimpse into the poet’s intentions when he wrote The Cold Within.
We can learn so much from these powerful words
The Cold Within is a poem with the ability to change the way we treat each other. If we can open our minds to the message, we could view the world with a fresh perspective. Kinney’s poem should serve as a reminder of what happens when we’re divided.
I’m hoping that by sharing this poem and its meaning, it will inspire us as individuals to promote the change our society needs. We should all be able to live and work together, despite our differences, whatever they may be.
Our differences are what make us each unique, they should not be what divides us. We all have strengths and weaknesses, thoughts and ideas, and unique perspectives based on our individual experiences. If we could embrace them, and combine them, we could be such a powerful force.
If we continue to let these things divide us instead, we will ultimately be responsible for our own demise. I’m hopeful this will happen, that at some point society as a whole will open their eyes to the damage we’re causing ourselves.
Until then, I will continue to do my part in trying to get us all as a society to open our eyes. I will continue to promote unity over division, and share this message as much as possible. We need more empathy and understanding in this seemingly material driven era.
“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” – Anonymous
I also share my favorite quotes about life if you’re looking for more inspiration! I’m always looking for inspirational and positive reminders, they help keep me away from unnecessary negative thoughts. I’ve always loved words, they have the capability to make you feel so many emotions. It’s amazing to me how powerful they can be.