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Ashlar Home > Poems > Edgar Alan Guest

The Poetic Works of Edgar Alan Guest

The Temple - What Makes it of Worth

You may delve down to rock for your foundation piers,
You may go with your steel to the sky
You may purchase the best of the thought of the years,
And the finest of workmanship buy.
You may line with the rarest of marble each hall,
And with gold you may tint it but then
It is only a building if it, after all,
Isn't filled with the spirit of men.

You may put up a structure of brick and of stone,
Such as never was put up before
Place there the costliest woods that are grown,
And carve every pillar and door.
You may fill it with splendors of quarry and mine,
With the glories of brush and of pen––
But it's only a building, though ever so fine,
If it hasn't the spirit of men.

You may build such structure that lightning can't harm,
Or one that an earthquake can't raze
You may build it of granite, and boast that its charm
Shall last to the end of all days.
But you might as well never have builded at all,
Never cleared off the bog and the fen,
If, after it's finished, its sheltering wall
Doesn't stand for the spirit of men.

For it isn't the marble, nor is it the stone
Nor is it the columns of steel,
By which is the worth of an edifice known
But it's something that's LIVING and REAL.

Charity

Let me be a little kinder
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
Let me praise a little more.

Let me be, when I am weary,
Just a little bit more cheery
Let me serve a little better
Those I am striving for.

Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver
Let me strive a little harder
To all I should be.

Let me be a little meeker
With a brother who is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor,
And a little less of me.

The Brethren

The world is needing you and me,
In places where we ought to be
Somewhere today it′s needing you
To stand for what you know is true.
And needing me somewhere today.
To keep the faith, let come what may.

The world needs honest men today
To lead its youth along the way,
Men who will write in all their deeds
The beauty of their spoken creeds,
And spurn advantage here and gain,
On which deceit must leave its stain.

The world needs men who will not brag,
Men who will honor Freedom′s Flag,
Men, who although the way is hard,
Against the lure of shame will guard,
The world needs gentle men and true
And calls aloud to me and you.

The world needs men of lofty aim,
Not merely men of skill and fame,
Not merely leaders wise and grave,
Or learned men or soldiers brave,
But men whose lives are fair to see,
Such men as you and I can be.

The Lamb Skin

It is not ornamental, the cost is not great,
There are other things far more useful, yet truly I state,
Tho of all my possesions, there's none can compare,
With that white leather apron, which all Masons wear.

As a young lad I wondered just what it all meant,
When Dad hustled around, and so much time was spent
On shaving and dressing and looking just right,
Until Mother would say: It's the Masons tonight.

And some winter nights she said: What makes you go,
Way up there tonight thru the sleet and the snow,
You see the same things every month of the year.
Then Dad would reply: Yes, I know it, my dear.

Forty years I have seen the same things, it is true.
And though they are old, they always seem new,
For the hands that I clasp, and the friends that I greet,
Seem a little bit closer each time that we meet.

Years later I stood at that very same door,
With good men and true who had entered before,
I knelt at the alter, and there I was taught
That virtue and honor can never be bought.

That the spotless white lambskin all Masons revere,
If worthily worn grows more precious each year,
That service to others brings blessings untold,
That man may be poor tho surrounded by gold.

I learned that true brotherhood flourishes there,
That enmities fade 'neath the compass and square,
That wealth and position are all thrust aside,
As there on the level men meet and abide.

So, honor the lambskin, may it always remain
Forever unblemished, and free from all stain,
And when we are called to the Great Father's love,
May we all take our place in that Lodge up above.

My Creed

To live as gently as I can,
To be, no matter where, a man
To take what comes of good or ill
To cling to faith and honor still
To do my best and let stand
The record of my brain and hand
And then, should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory!

To have no secret place wherein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin
To be the same when I'm alone
As when my every deed is known,
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made
To be without pretense or sham,
Exactly what men think I am.

I'd Rather Watch a Winner

d rather watch a winner, than hear one any day,
I'd rather have him walk with me, than merely show the way.

The eye's a better pupil, more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing but example's always clear.

The best of all the coaches, are the ones who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn how to do it, if you show me how it's done,
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.

The lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do.

For I may misunderstand you, and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live,

Yes, I'd rather watch a winner, than hear one any day,
I'd rather watch a leader, modeling the way.

Making Friends

If no one smiled and no one cheered
And no one helped us along,
If each every moment took care of itself
And good things went to the strong,

If nobody cared just a little for you
And nobody thought about me,
And we stood alone in the battle of life,
What a dreary old world it would be.

Life is sweet just because of the friends we have made
And things in common which we share.
We want to live on, not because of ourselves,
But because of the people who care.

Its giving and doing for somebody else-
On that all life's splendor depends
And the joy of this world, when you've summed it all up,
Is found in the making of friends.
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