James Patrick Kinney was born in a very poor Irish family in Cincinnati. He joined the army and was stationed in the Philippines as a radio man. On his return to USA, he started writing more extensively. James Kinney Poetries were published in different magazines.
“The Cold Within” by James is about the consequences of ‘letting your prejudices control your decisions’. It opens with six people trapped in the biting cold weather and each had a stick of wood. The fire, keeping them warm, is about to die anytime but none is ready to put his/her log to use. Moreover, they have different reasons for this. Beginning with the lady who didn’t wanted to save a black. The next man saw a person not being of his religion. The third being poor envied the rich. Further, the rich did not want to give anything to the poor. The black man thought it to be a chance to take revenge on the white. The last man was full of selfishness who would help only for something in return.
Subsequently, the sticks they all held tightly in their hands, stood as symbol of revenge and hatred. They lacked the aura of humanity. Thus the selfish souls invited the death and they died by the coldness of their hearts.
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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.
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