Specify the form, kind and theme of the poem The Cold Within by James Patrick Kinney.
The theme of the poem is the dictatorship of selfishness, prejudice and malice over the cations of humans.
In this poem, six humans were trapped in the cold by happenstance and all of them had a piece of wood which could have been put to use as fuel to the passing fire to save each other. But they allowed selfishness, prejudice, malice and suspicions to dictate their actions and died. They did not overcome the petty barriers of class , race and religion that divided them. As the title suggests , they did not die due to the cold outside, they died due to their intentions on the inside.
There is nothing extraordinary in the form of The Cold Within. It’s a simple narrative poem with eight quatrains and a rhyme scheme of abcb.
To specify a genre, it may be called a poetic parable with a learning conveyed to the readers.
About the theme, it’s a protest against bigotry and racism, against the discriminatory attitude towards others over petty barriers like caste, class, colour, religion and ethnicity.
You should also read the complete analysis and the message of the poem.
By the phrase “the cold within” the poet means the coldness of the hearts — the lack of warm human spirits of the six persons who gathered around the dying fire in that winter evening. Though all of them possessed a log of wood, none agreed to give it to the fire to keep it burning and keep them warm. This was because of the discriminatory attitude they had against each other over petty things like class, caste, colour, religious faith or ethnicity. In the end, they were found frozen to death with their logs held in their still hands. Therefore the poet commented that the death was not due to the cold outside, it was the cold within their hearts that killed them