Poem: “The Cold Within” by James Patrick Kinney

The Cold Within

by James Patrick Kinney

Six humans trapped by happenstance
in black and bitter cold
Each 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 on the faces around the fire
She 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.

And 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 stilled hands
Was proof of human sin,
They didn’t die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.

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Poem: “No Difference” by Shel Silverstein

I spent many hours as a child loving Shel Silverstein’s book of poems, Where the Sidewalk Ends.Today I ran across an old favorite. Enjoy!

No Difference

by Shel Silverstein

Small as a peanut

Big as a giant,

We’re all the same size

When we turn off the light.

Red, black or orange,

Yellow or white

We all look the same

When we turn off the light.

So maybe the way

To make everything right

Is for God to just reach out

And turn off the light!

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Poem: “Human Family” by Maya Angelou

(there’s nothing like hearing Maya Angelou share her poetry…such a gift!)

Human Family

by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land.
I’ve seen the wonders of the world,
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Poem: “Lisa” by Beverly McLoughland (biracial)

I found the following treasure at a school bookfair eight years ago. It was buried in a book titled “Through Our Eyes: Poems and Pictures About Growing Up“. I probably picked the book because it had “atypical” (not the usual blonde-haired and blue-eyed) girls on the cover. To see this, I knew it was intentional. I was happy to see children of different races and ethnicities represented on the pages. The book is filled with sweet poems, but we have especially enjoyed this one: 

Lisa

by Beverly McLoughland

Lisa’s father is

Black

And her mother is

White,

And her skin is a

Cinnamon

Delight,

Her hair is

Dark

And her eyes are

Light,

And Lisa is

Lisa,

Day and

Night.

And Lisa is

Lisa,

Night and

Day,

Though there are

People

Who sometimes

Say–

Well, is Lisa

That,

Or is Lisa

This? —

Lisa is

Everything

She is.

Lisa is

Lisa,

Day and

Night,

And her skin is a

Cinnamon

Delight,

And Lisa is

Sun

And Lisa is

Star,

And Lisa is

All

The dreams that

Are.