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Ashlar Home > Poems > Lawrence Greenleaf

The Poetic Works of Lawrence Greenleaf

The Temple

The temple made of wood and stone may crumble and decay,
But there's a viewless fabric which shall never fade away
Age after age the Masons strive to consummate the plan,
But still the work's unfinished which those ancient Three began
None but immortal eyes may view, complete in all its parts
The Temple formed of LIVING STONES,the structure made of hearts

Neath every form of government, in every age and clime
Amid the world's convulsions and the ghastly wrecks of time,
While empires rise in splendor, and are conquered and o'er thrown,
And cities crumble into dust, their very sites unknown,
Beneath the sunny smile of peace, the threatening frown of strife,
Freemasonry has stood unmoved, with age renewed her life.

She claims her votaries in all climes, for none are under ban
Who place implicit trust in God, and love their fellow man
The heart that shares another's woe beats just as warm and true
Within the breast of Christian, or Mohammedan or Jew
She levels all distinctions from the highest to the least,
The King must yield obedience to the Peasant in the East.

What honored names on history's page, o'er whose brave deeds we pore
Have knelt before our sacred shrine and trod the checkered floor!
Kings, princes, statesmen, heroes, bards who squared their actions true,
Between the Pillars of the Porch now pass in long review
O, Brothers, what a glorious thought for us to dwell upon
The mystic tie that binds our hearts bound that of Washington!

Although our past achievements we with conscious pride review
As long as there's Rough Ashlars there is work for us to do
We still must shape the Living Stones with instruments of love
For that eternal Mansion in the Paradise above
Toil as we've toiled in ages past to carry out the plan,
`Tis this,the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man!

Hands Across the Sea

Here′s Hands across the sea! good sirs, here′s Hands across the sea!
To every isle and continent where′er our brethren be
For we are one in sympathy, as we are one in name
The self same tools are bright with use and mystic lights aflame
The same designs on trestle board by which our tasks are wrought
Their symbol truths impressed on heart and centered in our thought.
For that which counts for greatest good is through the lives of each
Who by their acts exemplify the principles we teach.

The world′s great heart is throbbing with the spirit of unrest
We hear the cry that welleth up from peoples long oppressed
We see the rule of mammon and the grasping hand of greed,
The travesties of justice and the toiler′s bitter need,
The striving for the mastery, the ever present fear,
With nation watching nation, and the war clouds hovering near,
And the question ever riseth as portentous signs we trace,
What will the final outcome be, and what the saving grace?
And Masonry makes answer with its never changing plan
The Fatherhood of God. the Brotherhood of Man!

Though aeons upon aeons break upon the shores of time,
This is the grand fulfillment, and the prophesy sublime
This is the work of trestle board for brethren everywhere,
For never was there greater need for level, plumb and square,
For trowel with cement of love to strengthen and unite
The human race in brotherhood, and usher in the Light!
To all who aid this glorious work, wherever they may be,
Here′s to the Craft in homeland, and here′s Hands across the sea!

The Lodge Room Over Simpkin's Store

The plainest Lodge room in the land was over Simpkins' store,
Where Friendship Lodge had met each month for fifty' years or more.
When o'er the earth the moon full-orbed, had cast her brightest beams,
The Brethren came from miles around on horseback and In teams,
And 0! what heavy grasp of hand, what welcome met them there,
As mingling with the waiting groups they slowly mount the stair,
Exchanging fragmentary news or prophecies of crop,
Until they reach the Tyler's room and current topics drop,
To turn their thoughts to nobler themes they cherish and adore,
And which were heard on meeting night up over Simpkins' Store.

To city eyes, a cheerless room, long usage had defaced,
The tell-tale lines of lath and beam on wall and ceiling traced.
The light from oil-fed lamps was dim and yellow in its hue,
The carpet once could pattern boast though now 'twas lost to view
The altar and the pedestals that marked the stations three,
The gate-post pillars topped with balls, the rude-carved Letter G,
Were village joiner's clumsy work, with many things beside,
Where beauty's lines were all effaced and ornament denied.
There could be left no lingering doubt if doubt there was before,
The plainest Lodge room in the land was over Simpkins' Store.

While musing thus on outward form the meeting time drew near
And we had glimpse of inner life through watchful eye and ear.
When Lodge convened at gavel's sound with officers in place,
We looked for strange, conglomerate work, but could no errors trace.
The more we saw the more we heard, the greater our amaze,
To find those country Brethren there so skilled in Masons' ways.
But greater marvels were to come before the night was through,
Where unity was not mere name, but fell on hearts like dew
Where tenets had the mind imbued, and truths rich fruitage bore,
In plainest Lodge room in the land, up over Simpkins' Store.

To hear the record of their acts was music to the ear
We sing of deeds unwritten which on angel's scroll appear
A widow's case for our helpless ones Lodge funds were running low
A dozen Brethren sprang to feet and offers were not slow
Food, raiment things of needful sort while one gave load of wood,
Another shoes for little ones, for each gave what he could.
Then spoke the last 'I haven't things like these to give out then,
Some ready money may help out' - and he laid down a ten.
Were Brother cast on darkest square upon life's checkered floor
A beacon light to reach the white was over Simpkins' Store.

Like scoffer who remained to pray, impressed by sight and sound,
The faded carpet 'neath our feet was now like holy ground.
The walls that had such a dingy look turned celestial blue,
The ceiling changed to canopy where stars were shining through.
Bright tongues of flame from altar leaped, the G was vivid blaze,
All common things seemed glorified by heaven's reflected rays.

O! wondrous transformation wrought through ministry of love-
Behold the Lodge Room Beautiful! fair type of that above,
The vision fades-the lesson lives! and taught as ne'er before,
In plainest Lodge room in the land-up over Simpkins' Store.

O, Mother Lodge We've Wandered Far

O, Mother Lodge, we′ve wandered far
And knocked at many a door,
Since first we wore thy Lambskin gift
And trod thy Checkered Floor.
Since first thy symbols met our gaze
And claimed our constant thought,
Till patient search at length revealed
The hidden truths they taught.
When heart at name of Brother thrilled,
And loyal but to thee,
We loved thy Square and Compass, and
Adored thy letter G.
The Chapter held recovered truths,
Why not possess the same,
That thought awoke a new desire
And fanned it into flame.
The honor sought at length was ours,
We read the Keystone′s face
And saw the treasures long entombed
Brought from their hiding place.
Another tie had bound our heart,
Another name had we
O, Mother Lodge, we′ve wandered far
Yet still we cling to thee.
The Council next a votary claimed
We passed within its door.
The orders then of Knighthood took,
But still we craved for more.
The Scottish Rite′s prolific brood
Rose temptingly to view,
We reveled in the mysteries
Expressed by 32.
At last the crowning honor came,
With figure 33.
O, Mother Lodge, we've wandered far,
Yet still we cling to thee.
O, Mother Lodge, we′ve wandered far,
From thy more simple ways
Mid scenes of splendid pageantry
With glories all ablaze.
Where dulcet strains fall on our ear
And pealing anthems ring,
And wisdom of the antique world
Was voiced by silvery tongue
And yet, withal, true Son of Light
With vision clear to see,
O, Mother Lodge, we've wandered far,
Yet still we cling to thee.
O, Mother Lodge, we've wandered far,
With longings vain possessed,
No higher jewel than thy Square
Is worn on Mason′s Breast.
No higher badge than thy first gift,
The Lambskin pure and white,
Thy Pointed Star ascendant is
o′er every grade and rite.
Between thy Pillars all must pass,
or else must cease to be.
O, Mother Lodge, we′ve wandered far,
Yet still we cling to thee.
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