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Ashlar Home > Poems > Unknown

The Poetic Works of Unknown

The Past Master

Who's the stranger, Mother, dear?
Look, he knows us - ain't that queer?

Hush, my son, don't talk so wild -
He's your father, dearest child.

He's my father? It's not so!
Father died six years ago.

Dad didn't die, Oh love of mine,
He's been going through the line.
But he's been Master now so he
Has no place to go you see -
No place left for him to roam.
That is why he is coming home.
Kiss him, he won't bite you child.
All Past Masters are quite mild.

My Religion

When talk turns to religion
I have notions of my own
Have my versions of the Bible
And things I think alone.

And I find them satisfying,
Find them comforting to me,
Though I wouldn't lose my temper
If you chose to disagree.

For religion as I see it
Is a pathway to the goal,
And its something to be settled
Between each man and his soul.

Now I'm not a Roman Catholic,
But I wouldn't go so far
As to fling away the friendship
Of the ones I know that are.

I've lived and neighbored with them
Come to love them through and through
I've respect and admiration
For the kindly things they do.

I've known Methodists, Baptists,
Scientists and Jews,
Whose friendship is a treasure
That I wouldn't want to lose.

So when the people talk religion,
I just settle back and see
Every helpful, loyal friend
Each Church has given me.

Secretary's Note

Forget the hasty, unkind word:
Forget the slander you have heard
Forget the quarrel and the cause
Forget the whole affair, because,
Forgetting is the only way.
Forget the storm of yesterday
Forget the knocker, and the squeak
Forget the bad day of the week.
Forget you're not a millionaire
Forget the grey streaks in your hair
Forget to even get the blues -
But don′t forget
To Pay Your Dues!

No Time For God

You′ve time to build houses and in them to dwell
And time to do business to buy and to sell
But none for repentance, or deep earnest prayer
To seek your salvation, you′ve no time to spare.

You′ve time for earth′s pleasure, for frolic, for fun,
For glittering trees how quickly you run.
But care not to seek the fair mansions above
The favor of God or the gift of His love.

You′ve time to take voyages over the sea
And time to take in the gay world′s jubilee
But soon your bright hopes will be lost in the gloom
Of the cold dark river of death and the tomb.

You′ve time to resort to woods, mountains and glen
And time to gain knowledge from books and men
But you′ve no time to search for the wisdom of God.
But what of your soul when you′re under the sod?

For time will not linger when helpless you lie
Staring death in the face, you will take time to die.
Then what of the judgment? Pause, think, I implore
For time will soon be lost on eternity's shore.

A Master Mason's Wife

From active Masons, resolute,
Our wives and fam'lies we salute
We surely know the price you pay,
Who sit alone while we're away

No high degrees on you conferred,
In Lodge, your name is seldom heard
You serve our cause though out of sight,
While sitting home alone tonight

Masonic papers list our names,
Awards are given, fit to frame
But yours is who strive,
To keep our fortitude alive

You're part of every helpful deed,
On your encouragement we feed
Without your blessings, how could we,
Continue acts of charity?

And so, this poem, we dedicate,
To every Master Mason's mate
And offer our undying love,
Rewards await in Heaven above.

I See You've Traveled Some

Wherever you may chance to be
wherever you may roam:
far away in foreign lands
or just at Home, Sweet Home
It always gives you pleasure,
it makes your heart strings hum
just to hear the words of cheer -
I see you've traveled some.

When you get the brother's greeting
and he takes you by the hand,
it thrills you with a feeling
you cannot understand.
You feel that bond of brotherhood
that tie that's sure to come
when you hear him say in a friendly way,
I see you've traveled some.

And if you are a stranger
in a strange land, all alone
If fate has left you stranded,
dead broke and far from home,
if a stranger stops and takes your hand,
it thrills you - makes you dumb,
when he says with a grip of fellowship,
I see you've traveled some.

And when your final summons comes
to take a last long trip.
Adorned with Lambskin Apron white
and gems of fellowship.
The Tiler at the Golden Gate
with square and rule and plumb
will size up your deeds and say Walk in,
I see you've traveled some.

Let's Go To Lodge Tonight!

Let's Go To Lodge Tonight
My brother, let's go to Lodge tonight
You haven't been for years.
Let's don our Lambskin Apron white
And sit among our peers.

I feel a kind of longing, see,
to climb those creaky stairs
I know it'll be a thrill for me
to lay aside my cares.

We'll meet the Tyler at the door
and though he'll hesitate,
we'll hear him say just as before,
Come in or you'll be late.

I'd like to get out on the floor
Come on, let's get in line
I want to face the East once more
And give the same old sign.

I want to hear the gavel rap
the Craftsmen to attention
and see the Master don his cap
a night without dissention.

So come! Pass up that picture show,
or your wrestling bout or fight
Switch off that TV set! Let's go!
Let's go to Lodge tonight.

Tell Him Now!

If with pleasure you are viewing
any work a brother's doing
if you like him or you love him,
tell him now!

Don't withhold your approbation
Till the parson's grave ovation
as he lies with snowy lilies o'er his brow.

Makes no matter how you shout it
he won't really care about it -
He won't know how many teardrops
you have shed.

More than fame and more than money
is the comment, kind and sunny,
and the unmistaken handshake of a friend.

If you think some praise is due him
now's the time to tell it to him -
for he cannot read his tombstone
once he's dead.

A Masonic Smile

SMILING is infectious!
You can catch it like the flu.
When someone SMILED at me today,
I started SMILING too.

As I passed around the Altar
and a Brother saw my grin,
when he SMILED I realized
that I'd passed it on to him.

I thought about that little smile,
realizing its true worth:
A simple SMILE just like mine
could travel 'round the earth.

Ten Master Masons

Ten Master Masons, happy, doing fine
One listened to a rumor, then there were nine.

Nine Master Masons, faithful, never late
One didn't like the Master, then there were eight.

Eight Master Masons, on their way to heaven
One joined too many clubs, then there were seven.

Seven Master Masons, life dealt some hard licks
One grew discouraged, then there were six.

Six Master Masons, all very much alive
One lost his interest, then there were five.

Five Master Masons, wishing there were more
Got into a great dispute, then there were four.

Four Master Masons, busy as could be
One didn't like the programs, then there were three.

Three Master Masons, was one of them you?
One grew tired of all the work, then there were two.

Two Master Masons with so much to be done
One said What's the use, then there was one.

One Master Mason, found a brother true!
Brought him to the Lodge, then there were two.

Two Master Masons didn't find work a bore
Each brought another, then there were four.

Four Master Masons saved their Lodge's fate
By showing others kindness, then there were eight.

Eight Master Masons, loving their Lodges bright sheen
Talked so much about it, they soon counted sixteen.

Sixteen Master Masons, to their obligations true
Were pleased when their number went to thirty-two.

So we can't put our troubles at the Lodge's door
It's our fault for harming the Lodge we adore.

Don't fuss about the programs or the Master in the East
Keep your obligation by serving even the very least.

I Knelt Where Hiram Knelt

Last night I knelt where Hiram knelt
and took an obligation.
Today I'm closer to my God
for I'm a Master Mason.

Though heretofore my fellow men
seemed each one like the other,
today I search each one apart.
I'm looking for my brother.

And as I feel his friendly grip
it fills my heart with pride.
I know while I am on the square
that he is by my side.

His footsteps on my errand go
if I should such require.
His prayers will lead in my behalf
if I should so desire.

My words are safe within his breast
as though within my own,
his hand forever at my back
to help me safely home.

Good counsel whispers in my ear
and warns of any danger.
By square and compass, Brother now
who once would call me stranger.

I might have lived a moral life
and risen to distinction
without my Brothers helping hand
and the fellowship of Masons.

But God, who knows how hard it is
to resist life's temptations,
knows why I knelt where Hiram knelt
and took that obligation.

Remember You're A Mason

When the pressures of recession
Make us concentrate on greed,
Take heed, a worthy Mason
Cares about another's needs

Don't let pressures of the moment
Make your obligation sway,
Stop and help a fallen brother
Or another by the way

What you give is like a bubble
Whenever you assist,
What it costs in time and trouble
Is, soon after, never missed

Brother, bear that obligation
You accepted on your knee,
It's in direct relation
To your own security

Never hesitate, my brother
Square your actions now and say,
I'll remember I'm a Mason,
And behave like that today

With regard to human kindness
And the 'Golden Rule', I pray,
I'll remember I'm a Mason...
And behave like that today.

Am I A Builder?

I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.

With a ho-heave-ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and the sides fell.

I asked the foreman, Are these men skilled
And the kind you would hire, if you had to build?

And he gave me a laugh and said, No indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.

I can easily wreck in a day or two
What other builders have taken a year to do.

And I thought to myself as I went my way,
Which of these roles have I tried to play?

Am I a builder that works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square.

Am I shaping my deeds to a well made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?

Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down.

Masonic Membership Card

I hold in my hand a little scrap of paper
2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches in size.
It is of no intrinsic worth,
not a bond, not a check or receipt for valuables,
yet it is my most priceless possession.
It is my membership card in a Masonic Lodge.

It tells me that I have entered
into a spiritual kinship with my fellow Masons
to practice charity in word and deed
to forgive and forget the faults of my brethren
to hush the tongues of scandal and innuendo
to care for the crippled, the hungry and the sick,
and to be fair and just to all mankind.

It tells me that no matter where
I may travel in the world,
I am welcome to visit a place where good fellowship prevails
among brothers and friends.

It tells me that my loved ones, my home,
and my household are under the protection
of every member of this great Fraternity,
who have sworn to defend and protect mine
as I have sworn to defend and protect theirs.

It tells me that should I ever be overtaken
by adversity or misfortune
through no fault of my own,
the hands of every Mason on the face of the earth
will be stretched forth to assist me in my necessities.

And finally, it tells me
that when my final exit from the stage of life has been made,
there will be gathered around my lifeless body,
friends and brothers who will recall to mind my virtues,
though they be but few,
and will forget my faults,
though they may be many.

It tells me that, and a great deal more,
this little card,
and makes me proud yet humble,
that I can possess this passport
into a society of friends and brothers
that are numbered in the millions.


The Trowel

T is for the tools of the first three degrees
R for every rule as each brother agrees
O is for the oath, in making all brothers true
W is for the work each one of us must do
E is for the effort to answer every call
L stands for love...the most important thing of all

These letters spell TROWEL, and as every brother knows
It spreads love and friendship, wherever it goes.

Our Worshipful Brother George Washington

Masonry has many claims
Including presidential names,
And, foremost, when all's said and done
Would have to be George Washington.

He led our troops in many fights
He helped compose our 'Bill of Rights,
That all his people might be free
Enjoying life and liberty.

Americans still say today
We're lucky that we live this way,
For many, how surprised they'd be
To learn it sprang from Masonry.

For Washington, the Masons knew
Masonic principles were true,
And Masons know around this Earth
They came to be before his birth.

With other Masons, so conceived
He simply wrote what he believed,
Those thoughts and words that set us free
Are not unique in Masonry.

But not too many people know
The liberties they treasure so,
Were put into our Constitution
By Masons from the Revolution.

George Washington is praised by all
For answering his country's call,
For being president so wise,
For never telling any lies.

To each American, he's a part
Of what we treasure in our heart,
To love him not, would be like treason
Though each may have his own good reason.

But Masons o'er the years have cared
In knowing principles we've shared,
It's Washington we praise tonight
He truly shared Masonic Light.

The Master's Last Prayer

The day's labours done
My journey's end has come.
A new guide, now lead us on.
The path may be the same,
But the style, is his own:
A new post, will soon pass,
Another mark, will be reached.
Let us all pray, he will lead us,
To an even brighter day.

The Pot of Gold

You came with me on a long arduous journey,
Through many forests and jungles
The paths confusing and twisted,
Sometimes, I made you miss a turning
And finally we reached the end,
There was no promised pot of gold.
But then my brethren, it is not the gold
It was the search itself
The journey and your comradeship,
The jungles we saw
The forests we conquered
The rivers we forded,
And the links we made.
It would not have happened
If it was not for the pot of gold

Fraternally Yours

I met a dear old man today
Who wore a Masonic pin
It was old and faded like the man,
It's edges worn and thin.
I approached the park bench where he sat,

To give the old brother his due
I said I see you've traveled East,
He said, I have, have you?
I said, I have and in my day

Before the all seeing sun
I played in the rubble
With Jubala, Jubelo, and Jubalum.
He said don't laugh at the work my son

It's good and sweet and true.
And if you've traveled as you said
You should give these things their due.
The word, the sign, the token,

The sweet Masonic prayer.
The vow that you have taken
You have climbed the inner stair.
The wages of a Mason

are never paid in gold
But the gain comes from contentment
When you're weak and growing old.
You see, I've carried my obligations

For almost 50 years
It has helped me through the hardships
And the failures full of tears.
I'm losing my mind and body

Death is near, but I don't despair
I've lived my life upon the level
And I'm dying on the square.
Sometimes the greatest lessons

Are those that are learned anew
And the old man in the park today
Has changed my point of view
To all my Masonic brothers

The only secret is to care
May you live upon the level
And part upon the square.

Freemason′s March

Come, let us prepare,
We brothers that are
Met together on merry Occasion
Let us drink, laugh and sing,
Our Wine has a Spring,
′Tis a Health to an Accepted Mason.

The World is in Pain
Our Secret to gain,
But still let them wonder and gaze on
Till they′re shewn the Light
They′ll ne′er know the right
Word or Sign of an Accepted Mason.

′Tis This and ′tis That,
They cannot tell what,
Why so many great Men in the Nation
Should Aprons put on,
To make themselves one
With a Free or an Accepted Mason.

Great Kings, Dukes and Lords,
Have laid by their Swords,
This our Myst′ry to put a good Grace on,
And ne′er been asham′d
To hear themselves nam′d
With a Free or an Accepted Mason.

Antiquity′s Pride
We have on our side,
It makes a Man Just in his Station
There′s nought but what′s Good
To be understood
By a Free or an Accepted Mason.

Then Join Hand in Hand,
T′each other firm stand,
Let′s be merry, and put a bright Face on
What Mortal can boast
So noble a Toast,
As a Free or an Accepted Mason.

Masonic Sermon

Masonic conduct is to adore the Grand Architect of the Universe:
Love thy neighbor: Do no evil: Do good: Suffer man to speak:
The worship most acceptable to the Grand Architect of the Universe consists of good morals and the practice of all the virtues:
Do good for the love of goodness itself alone:
Ever keep thy soul in a state so pure as to appear worthily before the presence of the Grand Architect, who is God:
Love the good, succor the weak, fly from the wicked, but hate no one:
Speak seriously with the great, and prudently with thy equals, sincerely with thy friends, pleasantly with the little ones, and tenderly with the poor:
Do not flatter thy Brother, that is treason:
If thy Brother flatter thee, beware that he doth not corrupt thee:
Listen always to the voice of conscience:
Be a father to the poor: Each sigh drawn from them by thy hard-heartedness will increase the number of maledictions which will fall upon thy head:
Respect the stranger on his journey and assist him, for his person is sacred to thee:
Avoid quarrels and forestall insults:
Ever keep the right on thy side:
Respect Woman, never abuse her weakness: Die rather than dishonor her:
If the Grand Architect hath given thee a son, be thankful, but tremble at the trust He hath confided to thee: Be to that child the image of Divinity: Until he is ten years old let him fear thee: Until he is twenty let him love thee and until death let him respect thee: Until he is ten years old, be his master, Until twenty his father and until death his friend: Aim to give him good principles rather than elegant manners, that he may have enlightened rectitude, and not a frivolous elegance: Make of him a honest man rather than a man of dress:
If thou blushes at thy condition it is pride: Consider that it is not the position which honors or degrades thee, but the manner in which thou dost fill it:
Read and profit, see and imitate, reflect and labor:
Do all for the benefit of thy Brethren, that is working for thyself:
Be content in all places, at all times, and with all things:
Rejoice in justice, despise iniquity, suffer without murmuring:
Judge not lightly the conduct of men, blame little, and praise still less:
It is for the Grand Architect of the Universe who searches the heart to value His work:
Read Commentary

An Old Masonic Toast

To him that all things understood,
To him that found the stone and wood,
To him that hapless lost his blood
In doing of his duty.
To that blest age, and that blest morn
Wherein those three great men were born,
Our noble science to adorn
With Wisdom, Strength and Beauty.

Mason Marks

They're traced in lines on the Parthenon,
Inscribed by the subtle Greek
And Roman legions have carved them on
Walls, roads and arch antique
Long ere the Goth, with vandal hand,
Gave scope to his envy dark,
The Mason craft in many a land
Has graven its Mason mark.

The obelisk old and the pyramids,
Around which a mystery clings,-
The Hieroglyphs on the coffin lids
Of weird Egyptian kings,

Syria, Carthage and Pompeii,
Buried and strewn and stark,
Have marble records that will not die,
Their primitive Mason mark.

Upon column and frieze and capital,
In the eye of the chaste volute, -
On Scotia's curve, or an astrogal,
Or in triglyp's channel acute,-
Cut somewhere on the entablature,
And oft, like a sudden spark,
Flashing a light on a date obscure,
Shines many a Mason mark.

These craftsmen old had a genial whim,
That nothing could ever destroy,
With a love of their art that naught could dim,
They toiled with a chronic joy
Nothing was too complex to essay,
In aught they dashed to embark
They triumphed on many an Appian Way,
Where they'd left their Mason mark.

Crossing the Alps like Hannibal,
Or skirting the Pyranees,
On peak and plain, in crypt and cell,
On foot or on bandaged knees -
From Tiber to Danube, from Rhine to Seine,
They needed no letters of marque -
Their art was their passport in France and Spain,
And in Britain their Mason mark.

The monolith gray and Druid chair,
The pillars and towers of Gael,
In Ogharn occult their age they bear,
That time can only reveal.
Live on, old monuments of the past,
Our beacons through ages dark!
In primal majesty still you'll last,
Endeared by each Mason mark.

I am! I am!

Are you a Mason? Aye, I am! But stay
The mere profession of its principles,
When unsupported by the daily acts
Of duty it involves, proves false the tale,
And Truth, that attribute divine, the sure
Foundation of Masonic heritage,
Shrinks back appalled at such a mockery,
Which, like the barren fig tree, fair to sight,
Is but the semblance of a fruitful tree.
Faith without works is dead
Profession without practice, dead, also
A man's a Mason only when he strives
To make his practice quadrate with his creed.
What is a Mason?

Symbol of a race,
Grand and historic, 'neath whose steadfast hands
The mighty fabric of the Temple rose,
Until in beauty and strength it stood
Harmoniously proclaiming, God is great!
Though-at the dictum of the power to whom
'Twas raised -overthrown and crumbled into dust,
With not a fragment left to mark the place,
Or tell the tale of its magnificence
The art survives, but not alone
In perishable stone.

Through faith in God,
And hope of immortality, we build
A spiritual temple to His name
Founded on Truth and righteous Charity.
Oh, glorious fellowship! Unshackled by
Mortal interpretation of the word
Vouchsafed by God to man, we seek the Truth
In Love, the refulgent essence of all Truth,
Which is of God alone, and God is Love.
He, then, who takes the compasses in hand
To circumscribe his daily life, will find
The center in that Love to God expressed
In deeds of charity and love to men.

A Mason's Wife

Many years have hurried past since he first joined the Craft
I used to help him with stiff front shirts and know that I was daft
To crawl about on hands and knees to find the stud he'd lost
He could have bought some extra ones for very little cost.

I liked to lay out all his clothes and little black bow ties
The dinner suit was hand me down and not quite right for size
We realized that frequently he had just one black sock
This, of all my shortcomings, would make him do his block

The time involved in putting on the full Masonic dress
Was fraught with great frustration and with constant mounting stress
For also with the dressing was a frantic final look
At certain of the pages in the secret ritual book

Then came the day when tails were bought to mark promotion's climb
I warmed with pride as off he went-that special man of mine
Next came a spate of going out to one Lodge or another
He hardly spent a night at home, my worshipful, the brother.

I watched a special talent grow, a new commanding air
Of dignity and confidence, as master in the chair
My memory of that time is tingled with one distinctive sight
The rear end view of flapping tails-my penguin in full flight

I am proud to be a Mason's wife, I'm proud to be a mother
And later, once our son has joined, he'll be my husband's brother
And then I hope they'll both go off in fellowship fraternal
To moralize and square their lives on God's own word eternal.

Acrostic - George Washington

G reat patron of our noble art divine,
E xtend thy all enliv'ning orient ray,
O n Masonry with ardent lustre shine,
R efulgent shineand usher in new day
G reat architect, bright morning star of fame,
E ach Mason glories in his patrons name.

W hat's great and good, and beautiful to see,
A re all compriz'd, and to be found in thee
S tatesman, hero, patriot, brother dear,
H umane, benevolent, just and sincere
I ntrepid soldier, guardian of our land,
N e'er let us fall beneath oppressor's hand,
G ently lead and guide us on to fame,
T hat we may stand recorded with thy name
O n Mason's hearts thy name shall stand secure,
N or be forgot while Masonry endures.
Read Commentary

Builder's All

Surely some workman has built
the pillar as well as the spire
The cross that the painter has gilded
was fashioned in somebody's fire.

Surely men dig in the ditches
preparing a place for the wall
And someone has made with her
stitches the flag that shall fly over all.

Someone has blended the plaster,
and someone has carried the stone
Neither the man nor the Master
ever has built alone.

Making a roof for the weather,
building a house for the King
Only by working together
men have accomplished a thing.

All have a share in the beauty,
all have a part in the plan
What does it matter what duty
falls to the lot of a man.

Each has a hand in the building,
no one has built alone
Whether a cross he was gilding,
whether he carried the stone.

Do We Meet Him on the Level?

To meet upon the level
Is an easy thing to say,
But when it comes to practice,
Do we do it every day?
Do we meet him on the level,
If the Brother chance to be
Just a little out at elbow
Or baggy at the knee?

When we meet him in the workshop,
Do we greet him with the grip
That we do the noted statesman
On a European trip?
Do we meet him on the level
And give him just the chance
That we do the dashing fellow
With the creases in his pants?

If fortune does not smile on him
In sunshine and repose,
Do we meet him on the level
In his second-handed clothes?
Do we invite him to our church,
And seat him in our pew,
And warm our hearts by clasping hands
As Brothers ought to do?

Yes, we meet him on the level,
On the broad Masonic plan,
Whenever we know him to be
A Mason and a man.
We'll meet him on the level,
And part upon the square,
And then perhaps he'll vouch for us
When we meet him over there.

Fall In

Does it make you rage when you come to learn
Of a clean souled woman who could not earn
Enough to live, and who fought, but fell
In the cruel struggle and went to hell?

Does it make you seethe with an anger hot?
Brother, we welcome you-come share our lot!
Whoever has blood that will flood his face
At the sight of Beast in the holy place

Whoever has rage for the tyrant's might,
For the powers that prey in the day and night,
Whoever has hate for the ravening Brute
That strips the tree of its goodly fruit

Whoever knows wrath at the sight of pain,
Of needless sorrow and heedless gain
Whoever knows bitterness, shame and gall
At thought of the trampled ones doomed to fall

He is a brother-in soul we know
With brain afire and with soul aglow
By the sight of his eyes we sense our kin-
Brother, you battle with us-fall in!


If I could write one little word
Upon the hearts of men,
I'd dip into the fount of love
And write with golden pen
One little word and only one,
And feel life's work on earth well done:
For every heart would speak to me
That one sweet word Fraternity.

The angel throng would sing a song,
The sweetest ever heard,
If they could read in human hearts
That precious little word,
For kindly thoughts and kindly deeds
Are the treasures more than crown and creeds:
In these the angel host would see
The children of Fraternity

A man will need no other creed,
To guide him on life's sea
If he embarks upon the ark
Of true Fraternity.
For love divine will clasp his hand
And lead him to the promised land
Love to his fellow-man shall be
His passport to eternity.

So Mote It Be

How Shall i Honor Masonry?

IF Providence your lot hath blest,
In peace and affluence to rest,
Let not your mind contracted be,
Nor scorn the abodes of poverty,

When you behold in abject state,
A brother crush'd by fortune's fate,
Lend him your aid, his wants to free,
And you shall honor Masonry.

When o'er the list of human woes,
You find the tear of grief o'erflows,
The widow's moan, the orphan's sigh,
Your help shall honor Masonry.

Where discord reigns with direful sway,
The balm of reas'ning there display
Show to the world a conscience free,
And you shall honor Masonry.

Your time shall pass serenely on -
While conscience dictates, right is done:
Your hoary locks shall honored be,
If you've regarded Masonry.

When life's tempestuous scenes are o'er,
And nature's calls require no more,
In heaven you'll take your last degree,
If you have honor'd Masonry.

I'm Ready for My Last Degree

An old man lay sick in the Masonic Home,
His face was as ashen as the white sea foam,
His eyes were dim, his hair was gray,
His back was bent with the trials of the way,
He falteringly spoke, but I heard him say,
I'm ready for my last degree.

I've come to the end of the level of time That leads us to that Grand Lodge sublime,
From whose borne none ever return,
More light in Masonry there I shall learn
By an altar where light shall evermore shine,
I'm ready for my last degree.

With the Apprentice's gauge, I've divided my time
Into equal parts since life's early prime.
And this I have found amidst life's great turmoil,
My wages are due me, in corn, wine and oil,
I'm ready for my last degree.

Each day from life's quarries, I've hewn a stone,
With the gavel I've shaped them, each one alone,
And shipped them along beyond that bright stand,
To build me a house in that fair land,
A spiritual house not made with hands,
I'm ready for my last degree.

I've squared each stone by the virtue square,
And plumbed them all true, as I shipped them there,
With the compass I've measured the Master's designs
And kept within due bounds, with his points and his signs,
My blueprints are folded, I've answered his signs,
I'm ready for my last degree.

The mortar I've made from friendship and love,
To be spread with the Master's trowel up above,
My apron is worn, but it's surface is white,
My working tools will now be cold and quiet
My trestle board's bare, and I'm going tonight,
I'm ready for my last degree.

A few moments later the old man was dead,
And I fancy that I could see his soul as it fled,
Upward and onward, to the great door,
Where he gave an alarm, and a voice did implore,
The old man gave his answer with words once more,
I'm ready for my last degree.

That night in a Lodge, free from all strife and storm,
He took that degree, his last in due form,
So may I live like he did, to build day by day,
A spiritual house, in that land far away,
So, when I meet my Grand Master I can say,
I'm ready for my last degree.

I Stood Before

The Master's Chair
A Brother craftsman
Led me there

A trowel now in
The Master's hand
With which to spread
Cement and sand

The words I had
Been taught to use
And warned that I
Should not abuse

That friendship was
The greatest part
And faith must come
From my own heart

An apron pure
And spotless white
A trust to keep
With all my might

And for these things
I kneel in prayer
God help me walk
Both straight and square

Knife and Fork Degree

I do not attend the meetings
for I've not the time to spare.
But every time they have a feast
You'll surely find me there.

I cannot help with the degrees
for I do no know the work.
But I can applaud the speaker
and handle the knife and fork.

I am so rusty in the ritual that
It seems like Greek to me.
But practice makes me perfect
in the knife and fork degree

Let George Do It

Some members keep their Lodges strong,
While others join and just belong

Some dig right in, some serve with pride,
Some go along, just for the ride.

Some volunteer to do their share,
While some lay back and just don't care

On meeting nights some always show
While there are those who never go.

Some always pay their dues ahead,
Some get behind for months, instead.

Some do their best, some build, some make,
Some never give, but always take,

Some drag, some pull, some don't, some do.
CONSIDER, which of these are you?

On the Square

My Brother, in the Courtyard
Each one of us have stood
Outside the tyled Temple door
Awaiting as we should.

Take heed, thou young Apprentices
The Word emblazoned there:
To meet upon the level
And part upon the square.

My Brother, at the Altar
Each one of us has knelt
With solemn Oath and Brotherhood
The Mystic Tie we've felt.

Take heed, my Brother Fellowcraft
The Word emblazoned there:
To act upon the plumb
And part upon the Square.

My Brother, in the Temple
Each one of us were Raised
And on receiving further light
Into the Light we gazed.

Take heed, my Brothers, Masters all
The Word emblazoned there:
To Live within the compass
And part upon the Square.

The Aged Mason

He sits on the sidelines

His hair has turned gray.
We pass him by, as if to say,
Sorry, Old Brother, you've had your day.

If we would stop and shake his hand
And tell him we are glad he came,
It would mean so much to a tired old man
Just to feel the warmth of a friendly hand.

He lays no claim to renown or fame.
Only a few remember his name.
We may not know from whence he came,
But he's our brother just the same.

He sowed the seeds for us to reap,
He paved the way so we could meet.
Ever humble yet somewhat proud,
Ever alert to keep his vows.

His stored up wisdom of many years
He leaves to us if we could only hear.
We are Brothers Let's act as such,
For the years of the aged have seen much.

The Builder

A Builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw its beauty,
It shall never know decay
Great is thy skill O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye.

A Teacher builded a temple
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with a prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wonderous plan,
For the temple the teacher builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder's temple,
Crumpled into the dust
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.
But the temple the Teacher builded
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child's immortal soul.

The Deserter, a Masonic Tale

IN one of the dungeons of Potsdam, were seated three
persons: the first, a young soldier, scarce eighteen, whose
jacket, stripped of its facings, told that the sentence of the
court-martial had already passed - a sentence which for his
of fence (that of desertion) Frederick the Great seldom
inclined to mercy.

Beside him was seated a female, her hands clasped in
convulsive firmness her lips quivering with suppressed
emotion the tears streaming consciously from her eyes,
which were riveted, with mournful tenderness, upon the
prisoner, soon to be led forth to death. The third inmate of
that dreary cell was the chaplain of the prison, whose
self-possessed, yet mild demeanor, told that long familiarity
with scenes of wretchedness, while it had enabled him to
suppress all outward demonstration of sorrow, had not
blunted his heart to the miseries of his fellow creatures.

Fritz! exclaimed the heart-broken mother, this is not the
spirit in which a Christian should meet death: listen to the
exhortation of God's minister.

Mother, I am innocent, replied the youth. My captain gave
me permission to absent myself two days, the very night
before he fell, but my judges would not believe me.

I believe you, sobbed the heart-broken parent but is the
injustice of man an excuse for neglect of Heaven. Though
guiltless of this one fault, how many thousands are unatoned
- are unrepented of? and you would die in this hardened
spirit? - the sense of human injury is stronger than the sense
of human sinfulness. Hear, Fritz, she continued, bend thy
stubborn knees. When your poor father died, you were an
infant, helpless and sickly - I forgot myself, hushed my own
grief to remember you. I commanded back my tears, stifled
my sighs, divorced my grief from your father's grave, and
lived through many a grievous hour, because thou didst live.
'Twas a bitter grief but, oh! 't was happiness to this. My boy,
my thoughts grow frantic when I behold thee blotted from the
book of life! Bend, bend thy stubborn knees and ask for

Mother! exclaimed the young soldier, his frame writhing
with emotion, spare me.

Spare me, and save thyself, answered the unhappy
woman humble thy haughty spirit nor deem, that because
an unjust sentence has been pronounced against thee, thou
mayest unprepared stand before the judgment seat of the
Most High.

Fritz, whose face was covered with his hands, wept bitterly -
his sobs were audible.

Blest tears! exclaimed the priest, they are the harbingers
of contrition - the penitential waters of the soul, which
cleanse it from impurities:

The rest of the night was passed in prayer and religious
exercises. The unhappy youth was brought to feel that
earthly injustice was no expiation for his offences against
Heaven, and that ere he could look for pardon from his
offended Creator, he must endeavor to merit it by penitence
and prayer.

Mother, said the youth, after his feelings had been soothed
by the hope which so lately was a stranger to his breast, I
thank thee - thou hast given me life, nurtured me, expended
on my early years all the rich treasures of a parent's love as
cares, as watchfulness, as tenderness: thou halt done more,
thou halt taught me how to die-to quit the world in peace.

And to pardon it, interrupted the minister, to extend
Christian forgiveness to your enemies, if such thou hast.

What! exclaimed the young man - the infirmity of human
passion for a moment subduing the dictates of religion -
forgive my enemies! - forgive Hubert and Carle, whose lies
condemned me! - never, father, never!

How else wilt thou hope to be forgiven? demanded the
good old man. Shall man dare ask forgiveness of his Maker,
and yet refuse it to his fellow worm?

But, Hubert and Carle, father-

Have injured thee, my son, said his mother, calmly had
they not, where would be the merit of forgiving them? Has
thou forgot the first prayer I taught thee to pronounce:
'Dimitte nobis debits nostra: sicut et nos dimittimus
debitoribus nostris.' Forgive them, my child, as thou hopest
to be forgiven.

Mother, the last feeling is rooted from by heart, I do forgive

Thanks! thanks! exclaimed the now happy parent the
bitterness of losing thee is past our separation will be short,
Fritz, I am already bowed more by sorrow than by years. The
grave now orating to receive thee will not be long without a
second tenant.

The hour will soon arrive, mother, when we must part but
let me fulfil my last earthly duty. The captive reached from
the shelf above his rude hard couch, a military knapsack,
and began arranging its contents. Here, dear mother, is my
bible keep it for my sake it was my father's and you will not
prize it less that it has been your unhappy son's. Would, he
added, turning to the priest, I had aught worthy of your
acceptance, but the captive's prayer must be your only
guerdon unless, he continued, this trinket, which seems
marked in curious characters and Hebrew letters, be worthy
of your attention. He placed in the old man's hands a small
medallion of silver gilt, as he spoke.

Where got you this? demanded the priest, eyeing it with
surprise and curiosity.

It was my father's - it has his name upon it

Fritz Kineberg, said the inquirer, reading the legend
engraved on the rim - the speaker paused for a moment and
then resumed - my son, I have a duty to attend to another
wretched prisoner awaits my ministry but at the hour of the
last trial of your firmness, I will be with you.

Leave us not, holy priest, exclaimed the mother, Heaven
knows we have need of consolation and support.

'Tis the sacrifice of duty, daughter, answered the old man,
and mast be made.

The inmates of the prison bowed in resignation, and again
were deep in prayer, as the good priest left the cell.

Morn at length broke, and all was prepared for the execution
of Fritz-still the priest returned not - his arms were pinioned,
and the guard about to conduct him from his cell, when the
door was gently opened, and the chaplain entered.

You are late, said the young man, but duty, doubtless
detained you. Un-loose my mother's arms from about my
neck, father, and give me your blessing comfort her when I
am gone.

Fritz, said the old man, solemnly, you stand upon the
verge of eternity. Is thy mind subjected to the will of God ?

I am contented to die. God's will be done.

The sobs of the wretched mother, whose fortitude had quite
forsaken her, were irrepressible.

Unsearchable are His ways, my child inscrutable are His
decrees. Lost and wretched as you stand, were it well, He
still could save you.'

I am hopeless, father, of all earthly mercy, replied the
young man.

Hope, answered the priest, with a tone approaching to
cheerfulness, should never leave us. Should it please
Providence to spare thy life-

Priest! exclaimed the mother, who had been listening to his
words, Is there hope? Thou art a holy man, and would'st not
trifle with a soul upon the verge of time. Shall I not be left a
childless mother ? Has Heaven in mercy to my prayer,
spared me my age's prop - my boy - my only one ?

It has, replied the priest, producing the pardon he is free:'

In an instant, mother and son were folded in each other's
arms, while the messenger of mercy bestowed on them his
Read Commentary

The Living Temple

Rich was the Temple framed of old,
Of Hermon's cedars, lined with gold,
By princely architect of Tyre:
And bright the flames of sun and fire,
Built many an hundred years ago,
In Ind or Western Mexico.

By fabrics formed by human hand,
Though they in noblest grandeur, stand
On lofty pillars, rich and rare.
Of burnished gold, can ne'er compare
With living temples, pure and fine,
Built by the Architect Divine.

Let us, who live in latter days,
To God a nobler temple raise,
With cornerstone deep laid in youth.
While knowledge, temperance and truth,
In all their fair proportion bind
That noble temple of the mind.

Let fortitude the basis be
And high resolve the plethory
The stones shall be of reason's proof,
Celestial love shall form the roof,
And prudence at the threshold stay
To drive each vagrant guest away.

Within shall seven pillars shine,
The purest product of the mine
Religion, honor, gratitude,
Nor shall the moon and stars by night
Withhold their kind and needful light,
That your work may be finished here
When the Grand Master shall appear.
Read Commentary

The Master Builder

Friend to friend and heart to heart,
He taught the builders trade.
The Master Builder showed the way,
Of how great men are made.
The master of an ancient craft,
Whose ways are known by few,
Took me to the builders room,
To teach me what was true.

A true believer in his work,
A friend to one an all,
A servant of his brethren,
He knew that was his call.
This gifted teacher used his time,
To pass along his treasure,
He minded not his sacrifice,
It was his one true pleasure.

He led me to a doorway,
And held it open wide,
And took me by my left arm,
Then led me side by side.
He led me near the center,
And pointed to a book,
Said, Here's your one foundation,
And bade me take a look.

This Bible is the rule and guide,
To everything we do,
This ancient blueprint shows us how,
To make our world brand new.
Between the leather covers,
There shines a golden light,
The rays of truth will turn around,
What's wrong to make it right.

Make good your obligations,
And use your working tools,
Labor for our King above,
And turn away from fools.
Measure out the work you do,
With a true and honest gauge,
And divide your time the way you should,
To earn your daily wage.

The rough and jagged edges,
In life that you may find,
Use your gavel, break them off,
And toss them from your mind.
Square your work, and walk upright,
Maintain an even keel,
And walk upon that level plane,
And speak what's true and real.

This gifted Master Builder,
With wisdom in his heart,
Taught to me the builders trade,
And showed me where to start,
He helped me lay my cornerstone,
His work he did with love...
He left our world, and now resides,
In that eternal house above.
Read Commentary

The Square Shooter's Plea

Let me walk among toilers while I am on earth
And be by my honest toil judged of my worth.
And judging all men by the spirit within
And not the fine raiment that covers the skin.

Let me feel for my neighbor a bit of his grief
That I may understand and appeal for relief.
Fail not in my duty to neighbor in need
Because of intolerance, bias or creed.

Let me govern my memory bidding it halt
And jettison all record of foible and fault.
While securing between decks the annals more fair
To the end of the journey, that port over there.

Let me think with an open and reasoning mind
Let my treatment of others opinions be kind.
Let me not tell another that my way is best
When my taste has restrained me from trying the rest.

Let me laugh with the world, let me sing and be glad
Let me lighten the load of the weary and sad
As I tactfully open their pleasure deaf ears
To the music of life, that great blotter of tears.

Let me play and be happy, my tools laid aside
And never another mans pastime deride.
Each whiling his own leisure hours away
As pleases him best at the end of the day.

Let me look at the last at the opening door
The grim shadow creeping across the cold floor.
With the thought that I've done the best I could do
And the courage to pass, without whimpering through.

Then let me rest, let me slumber and let me be named
As one who was tolerant never ashamed,
To admit he was wrong and the other man right
Then leave me in peace with a smiling good night.

The Structure of the Lodge

The Worshipful Master
Leaps tall buildings in a single bound
Is more powerful than an Intercity Express
Is faster than a speeding bullet
Walks on water
Gives policy to God

The Senior Warden
Leaps short buildings with a single bound
Is more powerful than a goods train
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet
Walks on the water if the sea is calm
Talks with God

The Junior Warden
Leaps short buildings with a running start and a favourable wind
Is almost as powerful as a goods train
Is faster than a speeding airgun pellet
Walks on water of a swimming pool
Talks with God if special dispensation is given

The Senior Deacon
Barely clears a garden hut
Loses a tug-of-war with a train
Can fire a speeding bullet
Swims well
Is occasionally addressed by God

The Junior Deacon
Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap buildings
Is run over by trains
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury
Doggie paddles
Talks with the animals

The Inner Guard
Runs into buildings
Recognizes trains two out of three times
Is not issued ammunition
Can stay afloat with a life vest
Talks to walls

The Steward
Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings
Says Look at the choo choo's
Wets himself with a water pistol
Plays in mud puddles
Mumbles to himself

The Secretary
Lifts buildings and walks under them
Kicks trains off the tracks
Catches speeding bullets in his mouth and eats them
Freezes water with a single glance
He is God!

To a Brother

Let not the greatness of the lofty scheme

Induce thee - brother by a mystic tie -

To turn aside now, and unwisely deem

That the great triumph doth beyond thee lie.

Assisted by that Light, whose fervid beam

Receives its luster from Eternal Truth

Thou may'st quaff deeply of that crystal stream,

Whose living waters yield immortal youth

And thus endowed with superhuman might,

In life and action prove thy calling LIGHT.

Tribute to a Mason

Why wear the apron? the young mason said,
As the mourners so silently bowed every head.

The prayer was perfection,-ceremony profound,
Not one single person uttered a sound.
The minister spoke, all telling with love,
That our brother had passed to the lodge up above.
That his life here below was not easy for sure
And many the sorrow hed had to endure.

This man dedicated to helping his race,
Unconscious of background or color of face.
With a life dedicated to sharing of time
While supporting a friend with a comforting rhyme.
Who brought out in others the best of the best,
Without criticizing, or putting to test.
That the life he had lived, as a mason and friend,
Was a lifetime of sharing, right up to the end.

The lambskin was placed with all loving care

A release from the labour on earth he did bear
The evergreen sprig shows the faith we all hold
That the Soul is immortal and none can control
Its reign oer the grave, so that death has no power

For ever and ever or even this hour.

We commit to the ground, these earthly remains
And cherish the memory, suffer the pains.
While we trust his spirit to God who did give it
This was his life and the way he did live it.

And so we account for our time here on earth

That our tasks ever after may be of Thy worth.
Now go with the Father in his gracious keeping,
And leave him to be, our brother-just sleeping.
So you see theres a reason that all men are born
Thats the reason I guess that the apron is worn.

What of Your Masonry

What of your Masonry? Is it put by,
Doffed with your Apron, forgotten to lie
Dormant and void, inefficient and vain,
Till in the Lodge you resume it again.

Listen my Brother, true Masonry dwells
Out in the world, not in dungeons and cells.
It feeds the hungry, defends the oppressed,
Lifts those that languish and soothes the distressed.

Masonry's place is in the shop, street and store
Fully as much as behind the tiled door
'Tis not a thing to be hidden away,
It should be worn, used, and lived every day.

When Father Rode the Goat

The house is full of arcana, and mystery profound
We do not dare to run about or make the slightest sound.

We leave the big piano shut and do not strike a note
the doctor's been here seven times since father rode the goat.

He joined the lodge a week ago Got in at 4:00 a.m.
And sixteen brethren brought him home, though he says that he brought them.

His wrist was sprained and one big rip had rent his Sunday coat
There must have been a lively time when father rode the goat.

He's resting on the couch today! And practicing his signs
The hailing signal, the working grip, and other monkeyshines

He mutters passwords 'neath his breath, And other things he'll quote
They surely had an evening's work when father rode the goat.

He has a gorgeous uniform, all gold and red and blue
A hat with plumes and yellow braid, And golden badges too.

But, somehow, when we mention it, he wears a look so grim
we wonder if he rode the goat or if the goat rode him!

What is a Mason ?

A Mason is a Man and a Brother, whose trust is in God.

He meets you on the Level and acts upon the Square.

Truth is his Compass and he is ever Plumb.

He has a true Grip of all that is Rite.

He is loyal to his Order and whatever his Degree

he is Master of himself.

In the Lodge of life he wears unstained the White

Lambskin of Innocence.

On his Initiation as an Entered Apprentice he travels

ever East towards the Light of Wisdom.

Until he recieves the final, the Divine Password that

admits him into the Ineffable Presence of the Eternal

Supreme Grand Master of the Universe


Progress in The Craft

Tie of black and lodge-suit, shoes are polished bright

Check regalia in the case see everything is right.

Just a final run-through of words you have to say

We'll have another Mason ere the closing of this day

And hope that he enjoys it, becomes one of us,

Also that he realises, we once were treated thus!

We, having seen such ceremonies many times before,

Will witness his first entrance, nervous through the door,

As keenly as when seeing those first steps we took,

We too listening to the words (Not always as per book!)

For all our Brother Masons are fallible like me

Few can be word-perfect throughout each degree.

We shall watch him when he's crafted, later at his Third,

His progress to the Master's Chair, to gain the Master's word.

Initiating others, in that year so swiftly gone!

Becoming a Postmaster, and so relied upon.

Then other years are passing, he's in dark blue, and bald

But willingly will take a job, whenever he is called.

He's still at every meeting, at L.O.I. he's there

For well-being of the Lodge he's always time to spare.

He's reaped no advantages through being in the craft

As spoken by our critics, the jealous and the deft!

Except that great advantage, which we Masons are aware

That wondrous 'Magic' something of being On The Square.

Nimrod and Solomon

Much might be said of the noble art,

A craft that's worth esteeming in each part,

Sundry nations' nobles and their kings also

Oh, how they sought its worth to know !

Nimrod, and Solomon the wisest of men,

Reason saw to love this science then.

I'll say no more, lest by my shallow verses I,

Endeavouring to praise, should blemish Masonrie.
Read Commentary

Did I help or hurt today Lord

Did I help or hurt today Lord,
is anyone happier that I passed this way,
Will anyone remember that I spoke to them today
And when the day is over and toiling time is through
Will someone say a kindly word, for me- for you.
I wonder can I say in parting from a day that is slipping fast,
did I help a single brother from the many that I passed,
Is a single heart rejoicing over what I did or said,
Does someone whose hopes were fading,
now with New Hope look ahead.

Did I win this day or lose it,
was it well or poorly spent,
Did I leave a trail of kindness,
or a scar of discontent.
As I close my eyes in slumber,
to the Architect above I pray,
That I've earned one more tomorrow,
by the Good I Did Today.
Read Commentary
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