Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
The Idol
By Tudor Jenks
DEEP in an ancient forest a huge stone idol stood,
Where thronged the dusky worshipers in gratitude for good;
With humble hearts in rudest strains they praised their god benign:
  Serene in measureless repose the idol gave no sign.
In times of sorest trial their chieftain oft would pray        5
That there might fall upon his path some guiding heavenly ray:
“Out of thy wisdom manifold let but one word be mine!”
  Serene in measureless repose the idol gave no sign.
When dire disaster smote the tribe or famine’s toll was paid,
The trembling people bowed to earth and sought the idol’s aid,        10
Or, frenzied, cursed its stony smile and changeless brow malign:
  Serene in measureless repose the idol gave no sign.
Grave priests declared, “Yon sits the god who heeds no man’s behest.
Ye cannot see, ye must not know, yet all is for the best; vain are tears, in vain is praise, yet worship the divine!”
  Serene in measureless repose the idol gave no sign.        15
Behold a wretch despairing fled before the painted foe:
With sobbing breath the victim fell—he could no further go.
Ah!—Would that dark libation were but of crimson wine!
  Serene in measureless repose the idol gave no sign.
Pass seasons, years, long centuries. The people die away.        20
Amid a dwindling forest rots a crumbling image gray,
Now but a formless bulk of rock draped in a living vine.
  Serene in measureless repose the idol gives no sign.

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