These are my chums; the chums that love me best.
Not chums alone, but courtiers, zealots, too -
Clean-white of soul, too wise for fraud or sham;
Yet senseless in their worship ever new.
These are the friendly folk whose god I am.
A blatant, foolish, stumbling, purblind god, -
A pinchbeck idol, clogged with feet of clay!
Yet, eager at my lightest word or nod,
They crave but leave to follow and obey.
We humans are slow to understand!
Swift in our wrath, deaf to the justice-plea,
Meting out punishment with lavish hand!
What, but a dog, would serve such gods as we?
Heaven gave them souls, I'm sure; but dulled the brain,
Lest they should sadden at so brief a span
Of heedless, honest life they sustain;
Or doubt the godhead of their master, Man.
Today a pup; tomorrow at life's prime;
Then old and fragile; - dead at fourteen years.
At best a meagre little inch of time.
Oblivion then, sans mourners, memories, tears!
Service that asks no price; forgiveness free
For injury or for injustice hard.
Stanch friendship, wanting neither thanks nor fee
Save privilege to worship and to guard: -
That is their creed. They know no shrewder way
To travel through their hour of lifetime here.
Would Man but deign to serve his god as they,
Millennium must dawn within the year.
A.P. Terhune 1921
1/82 - 11/85
4/95 - 3/98
6/86 - 6/98
6/84 - 2/00
12/99 - 7/00
12/86 - 7/00
2/99 - 8/00
4/99 - 3/03
1990 - 5/04
2001 - 12/05