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[personal profile] habitudo
James Patrick Kinney:
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.

В холодну ніч шістьох людей випадок звів нараз
І кажуть, ніби кожен мав поліно про запас.
В багаття перший ладен був підкинути дровин,
Але ділитись не схотів: там мурин був один.
Наступний радий врятувать від холоду братів,
Однак поліно не віддав, бо нехриста уздрів.
А третій в рам’я кутався і думку злу таїв:
То мав би я своє віддать на зиск багатіїв?
В маєтного – свої думки: про статок і товар,
Як захистити краще їх від злидарів-нездар.
На смерть повільну вогнища дивився без жалю
І чорношкірий: врешті я тим білим дозолю!
Останній із приречених – за справедливу гру:
Даси мені – дам я тобі, чужого не беру!
Їм смерть покутою була за цей правічний гріх:
Не ночі холод, а сердець в могилу звів усіх.
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