"A TOAST TO THE FLAG"
Here's to the red of it-
There's not a thread of it,
No, not a shred of it
In all the spread of it
From foot to head,
But heroes bled for it,
Faced steel and lead for it,
Precious blood shed for it,
Bathing it Red!
Here's to the white of it-
Thrilled by the sight of it,
Whos knows the right of it
But feels the might of it
Through day and night?
Womanhood's care for it
Made manhood dare for it,
Purity's prayer for it
Keeps it so white!
Here's to the blue of it-
Beauteous view of it,
Heavenly hue of it,
Star spangled dew of it
Constant and true;
Diadems gleam for it,
States stand supreme for it,
Liberty's beam for it,
Brightens the Blue!
Here's to the whole of it-
Stars, stripes and pole of it,
Body and Soul of it,
O, and the roll of it,
Sun shining through;
Hearts in accord for it,
Swear by the sword for it,
Thanking the Lord for it,
Red, White, and Blue!
John Daly - 1917
Of Time, Tools and Wages
The Master Architect has designed,
Through infinite love and wisdom,
A blueprint of your life,
Foretelling the time of your arrival,
The place and hour of your departure.
Your use of this golden interim
You must choose, for the term is short.
Time flows like a flood stream and is gone.
The Celestial Overseer will issue
All the tools which your will use.
No two alike, some sharp, some dull,
Some new, some old, some bent and broken.
You should willingly accept your lot,
Making full use of what you have.
Your tools will become bright and keen
From inspired and dedicated labor.
The Grand Paymaster will, from his throne,
Check the record on that final pay day,
When naked you before him stand
Presenting your gnarled and calloused hands.
The record will show if wages are due.
Paid in coins of Love, Truth, and Service.
Many will be found overdrawn,
But only the Masters workmen will receive overtime.
-William R. Cody, Faith Lodge, Wichita Falls
THE COMING DARKNESS
Softly, through the mist of time pass the words heard a
thousand times before. Footsteps echo through the Hall in a precise
and consistent manner. Masters of another time learned the
meanings behind the movements and steps.
Time passes, and some wonder if their footsteps will echo through the
mist of time. The words still echo these sacred halls, and contain
knowledge that must be learned by future generations.
Already, the meanings are obscured by the passage of time,
lost save for a few who still seek their meaning.
Sunsets can be beautiful, as the sun sets in a flash of brilliance at the
close of the day. The faithful pray for knowledge of the light that
will fill our lives once more with its brilliance. But faith alone
can not sustain us withoug knowledge of the light,
and of the darkness, that will surely overtake us all.
For generations a few have sought the light that shines through the
darkness that follows the sunset. The cycle of learning
has been with us for countless generations, and the knowledge
of the light has sustained us. Memories of a brilliant sunset will not
sustain us through the darkness without the knowledge.
The winds of wordly desires swirl around us
threatening thobscure the horizon.
Knowledge passed from generation to generation
must not the dimmed by the brilliance of shining pride.
We seek glories and honors, but all glory is fleeting,
say the scholars, and human glory will fade.
But still the footsteps echo through the empty halls
of past glory, and whisper secrets that can be heard
for those who listen. The faithful still seek the knowledge
of the light that shines through the darkness.
In the coming darkness the familiar voices of elder
brethren will have passed to memory.
Great Architect of the Universe,
help those who seek the light to obtain it.
Great Master of us all, help those who quest for
further light to find it.
Great Father we beseech Thee, grant those who have
sought more light to share and preseerve the sacred
truth in the darkness of ignorance that threatens to overtake us.
-Brent Mattox, PHP,MO
I AM FREEMASONRY
I was born in antiquity in the ancient days when man first dreamed of
God. I have been tried through the ages, and found true. The crossroads
of the world bear the imprint of my feet, and the cathedrals of all nations
mark the skill of my hands. I strive for beauty and for symmetry. In my
heart is wisdom and strength and courage for those who ask. Upon my
altar is the Book of Holy Writ and my prayers are to the One Omnipotent
God. My sons work and pray together, without rank or discord, in the
public mart and in the inner chamber. My signs and symbols I teach the
lessons of life and death and the relatioship of man with God and or
man with man. My arms are wisespread to receive those of lawful age and
good report who seek me of their own free Will. I will accept them and
teach them to use my tools in the building of men, and thereafter find
directing in their own quest for perfection so much desired and so difficult
to attain. I lift up the fallen and shelter the sick. I hark to the orphan's cry,
the widow's tears, the pain of the old and destitute. I am not church, nor
party, nor school yet my sons bear a full share of responsibility to God, to
country, to neighbour and themselves. They are freemen, tenacious of
their liberties, and alert to lurking danger. At the end I commit them as
each one undertakes the journey beyond the vale into the glory of
everlasting life. I ponder the sand within the glass and think how small is a
single life in the eternal universe. Always have I taught immortality, and
even as I raise men from darkness into light, I am a way of life.
I am freemasonry
-Ray V. Denslow
The Entered Apprentice
In darkness I arrived within
Not knowing where to go.
I felt sure that I was safe---
A good friend told me so.
I had to confess my belief in God
And was slowle led around.
Back and forth across the room
Not know where I was baound.
Alas, I was placed on bended knee
And given words to say.
By these words I try so hard
To live my life each day.
"Mister" no more do I hear
For I'm a Brother now,
Ever since on bended knee
I took that sacred vow.
Hayward L Putnam, P.M.
Esdraelon Lodge No. 176
Golden Deeds Of A Mason
Should you be called upon to do
Some errand or another,
Could you set out on foot,
And walk to distance for a Brother?
And when you're down on bended knee
Beseeching and expressing;
Could you include a Brother's house,
And pray for Heaven's Blessing?
Within your breast a treasure chest
Of secrets kept from others,
Could you include and seal and keep
A secret of your Brother's?
Could you with little effort
Place your hand upon his back.
And aright a fallen Brother,
Upon the noble track?
A word of friendly counsel
Could renew a Brother's cheer;
Are you prepared to transmit the same,
By placing mouth to ear?
Upon the burning forge of life
These GOLDEN DEEDS are wrought,
Do you stand ready to apply them
At the time the iron is hot?
If you drop everything at hand,
And to a Brother, hasten,
You will wear the badge with honor, Sir;
Because you are a Mason!
-Bro. Ray McClain, New Jersey
(c) 1981 Raymond G. McClain
The Little Lodge of Long Ago
The Little Lodge of long ago-
It wasn't very much for show;
Men met above the village store,
And cotton more than satin wore,
And sometimes stumbled on a word,
But no one cared, or no one heard.
Then tin reflectors threw the light
Of kerosene across the night
And down the highway served the call
The faithful to Masonic Hall.
It wasn't very much, I know,
The Little Lodge of long ago.
But, men who meet in finer halls,
Forgive me if mind recalls
With love, not laughter, doors of pine,
and smoky lamps that dimly shine,
Regalia tarnished, garments frayed,
Or cheaply bought or simply made,
And floor uncarpeted, and men
Whose grammar falters now & then-
For Craft, or Creed, or God Himself,
Is not a book upon a shelf;
They have a splendor that will touch
A Lodge that isn't very much.
It wasn't very much--and yet
This made it great; there Masons met--
And, if a handful or a host,
That always matters, matters most.
The beauty of the meeting hour
Is not a thing or robe or flow'r,
However beautiful they seem;
The greatest beauty is the gleam
Of sympathy in honest eyes.
A Lodge in not a thing of size,
It is a thing of Brotherhood,
And that alone can make it good.
The Lodge Room Over Simpkins' Store
The Plainest Lodge room in the land was over Simpkin's 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 O! what hearty 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 in meeting night up over Simpkins' store.
To city eyes, a cheerless room, long usage and 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 heart like dew.
Where tenets had the mind imbued, and truth's 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-four 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.
They spake the last: "I haven't things lilke those to give-but 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 dingy look were 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.
--November 19, 1898
Lawrence N. Greenleaf
The Day I Stopped Being a Mason
by Carl W. Tikka
The day I stopped being a Mason
A day quite like many others
Inconspicuously guised as a lazy day
Became a wake for me and my brothers
I didn't recognize it at the time
I didn't notice a vacancy within
The tragic loss was scarcely felt
Though the fire within me grew dim
I put them to rest, or at least out of
Their faces I seldom see
But when I do it's by accident
And feel a little ashamed of me
I'll talk about Lodge, and how long
Since I showed up at a meeting you see
And know my excuses are transparent
And that my Brother can see through me
Still, I ramble on about coming back
And remind him about how busy I've been
And try to find understanding and acceptance
From my discarded Brother and friend
Slowly he nods and shakes his head
Sympathetically agreeing with me
I guess it must be so, he replies
But you don't have to explain it to me
I'm not your judge he compassionately states
C'mon, I'm your old friend...remember me?
And I'm sorry life dealt you such a
It did pretty much the same to me
He said a few years ago when he was Master
A plague moved silently through the craft
Nearly all the members were too busy
To halt the breakup of this sinking old raft
He told me he turned in out Charter
Those words hit me as if I'd been chastened
Suddenly I realized, a precious part of me died
The day I stopped being a Mason.
I Sat In Lodge With You
Wilbur D. Nesbit
There is a saying filled with cheer,
Which calls a man to fellowship.
It means as much for him to hear
As lies within the brother-grip.
Nay, more! It opens wide the way
To friendliness sincere and true;
There are no strangers when you say
To me: "I sat in lodge with you."
When that is said, then I am known;
There is no questioning nor doubt
I need not walk my path alone
Nor from my fellows be shut out.
Those words hold all of brotherhood
And help me face the world anew
There's something deep and rich
In this;"I sat in lodge with you."
Though in far lands one needs must
By sea and shore and hill and
Those words bring him a touch of
And lighten tasks that seem in
Men's faces are no longer strange
But seem as those he always
When some one brings the joyous
With his "I sat in lodge with you."
So you, my brother, now and then
Have often put me in your debt
By showing forth to other men
That you your friends do not
When all the world seems grey and
And I am weary, worn, and blue
Then comes this golden thought I
You said: "I sat in lodge with you."
When to the last great Lodge you
My prayer is that I may be
One of you friends who wait you
Intent you smiling face to see.
We, with the warder at the gate,
Will have a pleasant task to do
We'll call, though you come soon or
"Come in! We sat in lodge with you!"
A Man is a Mason
A man is a mason when he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own
littleness in the vast scheme of things and yet have faith, hope and courage. When he knows that down in his heart every
man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his
fellow man. When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins - knowing that each man
fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to be friends with himself, when he loves flowers, can
hunt birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy, when he hears the laugh of a little child;
when he can be happy and high minded amid the drudgeries of life. When star crowned trees and the glint of sunlight
and glowing waters subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no voice of distress reaches his
ears in vain and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps man to lay
hold of higher things and to see majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of the faith may be. When he can look
into the wayside puddle and see something besides mud, and into the face of the most forlorn mortal and see something beyond
sin. When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept faith with himself and his fellow man
and with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart, a bit of song - glad to live, but not afraid to die. In
such a man, whether he be rich or poor, scholarly or unlearned, famous or obscure, Masonry has wrought here sweet ministry.
By R. H. Taylor - 1884
My Brother of the Mystic Tie Wherever you abide,
Or on Nevada's mountain high, Or by the ocean tide,
Whate'er your station, rank or fame, Whate'er your native land,
Because you bear a Mason's name, Here is a Mason's Hand.
As you and I our journey take along life's rugged way,
No adverse fate our faith may shake, Or turn our lives away;
The bond between us, triple strong, No power on earth may part.
To you this tribute of a song goes with a Mason's Heart.
While in the quarries of the Craft We work with one accord,
A Mason's blessing let me waft to all who keep the Word:
With charity to all mankind, and faith in God above,
And these with gentle hope entwined accept a Mason's Love!
If but one message I leave behind
One single word of courage for my kind.
It would be this - Oh, Brother, sister, Friend,
Whatever life may bring, what God may send,
No matter whether clouds lift soon or late,
Take heart and wait.
Despair may tangle darkly at your feet,
Your fait be doomed, and hope once cool and sweet,
Be lost; but suddenly above a hill,
A heavenly lamp, set on a heavenly sill,
Will shine for you and point the way to go.
How well I know.
For I have waited through the dark, and I
Have seen a star rise in the blackest sky.
Repeatedly - it has not failed me yet,
And I have learned God will never forget
To light his lamp, if we but wait for it,
It will be lit.
-A Preacher who refused to Renounce Masonry.
From the Arizona Section, Fall 1994.