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Masonic Prose and Inspiration 3
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Prose and Inspiration Continued (3)

Desiderata
 
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.  As far a possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
 
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.  If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than youself.  Enjoy your achievements as well as you plans.
 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
 
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
 
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  Nuture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gently with yourself.
 
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;  you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
 
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
 
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be careful. Strive to be happy.
 
*Found in Old Saint Pauls' Church, Baltimore; dated 1692.
___________________________________
 
The Lost Word
 
A down the winding stream of time,
In sweetest song and old-time rhyme,
There comes the story of a Word,
Most powerful word man ever heard -
The name of Him, who only spoke
And worlds on worlds to life awoke.
 
This Word, so runs the ancient tale,
Spoken, behind the Temple's veil,
By High Priest's lips but once each year,
By chance was lost to tongue and ear.
 
From day of loss through ceaseless time
Strict search was made in ev'ry clime,
In valleys low or mountains high,
Where rivers run, where wheat fields lie,
Through forests deep, o'er tackless main,
That man might speak that Word again.
 
The ages came, the ages went,
And men, on fruitless search intent,
Forgot the voice that sand the song,
Forgot the hand that led them 'long,
Forgot the torch which lit the way,
Forgot the dawn that broke the day.
Long years had come, long year had gone,
When came a bright and golden dawn,
When voice with sweatest note was heard,
"The Royal Arch has found the WORD!"
 
(Author Unknown)
___________________________________________
 
The Death of Someone Else
 
-Author Unknown-
 
Our Lodge was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, Someone Else.
Someone's passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill.  Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, Someone did far more than a normal person's share of the work.  Whenever there was a job to do, a catechism to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone's list, "Let Someone Else to it."
Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results; Someone Else can work with that group or committee.  It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers of our Lodge.  Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference.
Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing superhuman.  Were the truth known, everyone expected too much of Someone Else.  Now Someone Else is gone!
We wonder what we are going to do.  Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it?
Who is going to do the things Someone Else did?
When you are asked to help this year, remember - we can't depend on Someone Else anymore.
___________________________________________
 
The Lambskin Apron
 
It is not ornamental, the cost is not so great,
There are other things far more useful, yet truly here I do state:
Though of all my possessions, there's none which can compare,
With that white leathern apron, which all Freemasons wear.
 
As a 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: "There's a Lodge meeting tonight."
 
And some winter nights she said: "What makes you go
Way up there tonight through the sleet and the snow?
You see the same things every month of the year."
Then Dad would reply: "Yes, I know, my Dear."
 
"Forty years I have seen the same things, it is true.
And, though they are old, they always seem so new.
For the hands that I clasp, and the friends that I greet,
Seem a little bit closer each and every time 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 that all Freemasons revere,
If worthily worn grows more precious each year.
That Service to others brings blessings untold;
That without it man may be poor even when surrounded by gold.
 
I learned that True Brotherhood flourishes there,
That enmities fade beneath the Compass and Square,
That wealth and position are all thrust aside,
As there on the Level Brethren meet and peacefully 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 the Celestial Lodge up above.
 
                         -Author Unknown
___________________________________________
 
Take My Hand; Follow Me
by Alvin F. Bohne, P.M.
 
When I was a young man, a long time ago,
The secrets of Masonry I wanted to know.
Of a Mason I asked what those secrets might be.
He replied, "First we walk, then we will see."
A petition he granted and ordered it filled
To be read at a meeting and a judgment be willed.
Then questions I answered about God and home;
Of habits and friends; a wife or alone.
 
In time I was summoned- a date to appear
Before an assembly of men gathered near.
 
I entered the building and looked up the stair;
Does pleasure or pain await me up there?
A hazing by paddle, taunting by joke?
My petition accepted or maybe revoked?
Introductions and handshakes welcomed me there
And lessons symbolic, an aid to prepare
For a journey in darkness, a predestined plight
To a Holy of Holies, the source of all light.
How well I remember that I heard someone say,
"To enter God's Kingdom there is but one way;
Be ye naked and blind, penniless and poor;
These you must suffer 'fore entering that door.
The journey ahead is not yours to know,
But trust in your God wherever you go."
Then assurance from the darkness whispered tenderly,
"My friend, be not afraid; take my hand, follow me,
 
With nervous attention a path I then trod;
A pathway in darkness to the altar of God.
With cable-tow and hood-wink, on bare bended knee,
A covenant was made there between God and me.
Charges and promises were made there that night
Dispelling the darkness and bringing me light.
Mid lightening and thunder and brethren on row!
Cast off the darkness! And cast off the tow!
 
In the company of men a man you must be,
Moral in character, the whole world to see.
Trust in your God, promise daily anew
To be honest and upright in all things you do.
Each man is a brother in charity to share
With those suffering hunger, pain or despair.
The widow and orphan and brother in pain
Depend on your mercy their welfare to gain.
The secrets of brethren keep only in mind.
To the ladies of brethren be noble and kind.
 
Go now, my brother, your journey's begun
Your wages await you when your journey is done.
 
That journey I started, oh, so long ago
And I've learned of those things I wanted to know.
I've learned of the secrets, not secret at all,
But hidden in knowledge within Masons' hall.
Childhood yields to manhood, manhood yields to age,
Ignorance yields to knowledge, knowledge yields to sage.
 
I've lived all my life the best that I could,
Knowing full well how a good Mason should.
I know of those times when I slipped and then fell.
What's right and what's wrong were not easy to tell.
But a trust in my God and a true brother's hand,
Helped raise me up and allowed me to stand.
I've strode down the old path, Masonically worn
By all Masons raised for the Masons unborn.
 
But this tired old body, once young and so bold,
Now suffers the afflictions of having grown old.
The almond tree's flourished; the grinders are few.
The house keepers tremble; desires fail too.
The locusts are a burden; fears are in the way.
The golden bowl is breaking, a little every day.
Mine eyes again are darkened, my sight again to fail;
I sense the Master's presence mid my family's silent wall.
I've laid aside my working tools, my day is nearly done.
For long I've played the game of life; the game's no longer fun.
Life's pathway ends before me. I see what's meant for me:
An acacia plant is growing where a beehive used to be.
 
The Ethereal Lodge has summoned from beyond the wailing wall
And I vowed that I must answer when summoned by a call.
 
Again I stand bewildered at the bottom of the stair
In nervous apprehension of what awaits me there.
Once again, and now alone, I stand without the door,
With faltering hand I slowly knock as once I did before.
 
I pray again to hear those words, whispered tenderly,
"My son, be not afraid. Take my hand; follow me."
 
(c) August 1996 St. Paul, MN
___________________________________________
 
A Little Scrap of Paper
 
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.
 
SO MOTE IT BE!!
 
                                          -Author Unknown
___________________________________________
 
I See You've Traveled Some
Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)
 
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 you heart strings hum
Just to hear the words of cheer-
"I see you've traveled some"
 
When you get the brothers greeting,
As he takes you by the hand,
It thrills you with a feeling
That you cannot understand.
You feel the 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 strange lands all alone
If fate had left you stranded-
Dead broke and far from home,
Oh, it's a grand and glorious feeling
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 pin, and say
"Walk-in--I see you've traveled some"
 
___________________________________________________________
 
"Are You A Mason?"
 
I am one of a band,
Who will faithfully stand,
In the bonds of affection and love;
I have knocked at the door,
once wretched and poor,
And there for admission I stood.
 
By the help of a friend,
Who assistance did lend,
I succeeded an entrance to gain;
Was received in the West,
By command from the East,
But not without feeling some pain.
 
Here my conscience was taught,
With a moral quite fraught,
With sentiments hold and true;
The onward I traveled,
To have it unraveled,
What Hiram intended to do.
 
Very soon to the East,
I made my request,
And "light' by command did attend;
When lo! I perceived,
In due form revealed,
A Master, and Brother, and Friend.
 
For the widow distressed,
There's a cord in my breast,
For the helpless and orphan I feel;
And my sword I could draw,
To maintain the pure law,
Which the duties of a Mason reveal.
 
Thus have I revealed,
(Yet wisely concealed),
What the "free and accepted" will know.
I am one of a band,
Who will faithfully stand,
As a Brother, wherever I go.
 
-Written by Bro. Reverend Dr. Magill, Rector of St. Paul's Church in Peru, Illinois.  Thought to have been written in the mid to late 1800's.
 
___________________________________________________________
 
A Father's Plea
 
Say, Son, let's go to Lodge tonight;
We haven't been for years.
Let's don our little apron white
And sit among the pears.
 
I feel a kind of longing, Boy,
to climb up those old stairs;
I know we'd get a thrill of joy
and lay aside the care.
 
I'd like to get out on the floor--
Come on, let's get in the line;
I'd like to face the East once more
And give the same old sign.
 
I want to hear the gavel ring,
To hear the organ play;
I want to hear the Chraftsmen sing
That old familiar lay.
 
I think the Tyler'd let us in,
Although He'd hesitate,
And then we'd see the same old grin.
Come on, or we'll be late.
 
Pass up your bridge or picture show,
Your wrestling bout or fight;
Switch off that darned old TV set--
Let's go to Lodge tonight.
 
--Published in the March 2006 Trestleboard of Wheaton Lodge #228 A.F. & A.M., Wheaton, Maryland
___________________________________________________________
 
The Perfect Ashlar
Bro. David T. Lang
 
Born to this world rough hewn and jagged,
a stone as yet poorly shapen and ragged.
 
Helped to grow by kindness of others,
shown our errors in whispers from Brothers.
 
With this and the aid of the Common Gavel,
sharp edges soon turn to discarded gravel.
 
With Further Light, we explore new tools,
working with Fellows to uncover more
Jewels.
 
With Plumb, Level, and Square we hearken
to hear,
sacred quidance known to the Attentive Ear.
 
The More Light we then are led,
that Brotherly Love be widely spread.
 
With our Ashlar true (good work and
square),
soon comes the time we must repair.
 
With Trowel in hand, Ashlar polished and
square,
we depart this world and all we built there.
 
Leaving behind in the hearts of our
Brothers,
the tools to teach, lead, and love others.
___________________________________________________________
 
BROTHER RED SKELTON'S TRIBUTE TO THE FLAG
 
THE RAGGED OLD FLAG
 
I walked through a county courthouse square.  On a park bench, an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your county courthouse looks kind of run-down."
He said, "Nah, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your old flagpole's leaned a little bit.  And that's a ragged old flag you've got hanging on it."
He said, "Have a seat," and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I believe it is."
He said, "I don't like to brag, but we're kind of proud of that ragged old flag.  You see, we've got a little hole in that flag there from when Washington took it across the Delaware.  And it got powder burns the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it, writing 'Oh Say Can You see.'  And it got a bad rip down in New Orleans with Packingham and Jackson tugging at its seams.  She almost fell at the Alamo, next to the Texas flag, but she waved on, though.  She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville, and she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.  There were Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg, and the southwinds blew hard on that ragged old flag.  On Flanders Field in World War I, she got a big hole from a Bertha gun.  She turned blood-red in World War II.  She's hung limp and low a time or two.  She was in Korea and Viet Nam, and she went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.  She waved from our ships upon the briny foam, but they've about quit waving her back here at home.  In her own good land, she's been abused, she's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused, and the government for which she stands is scandalized throughout the lands.  She's looking threadbare and wearing thin.  But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.  'Cause she's been through the fire before, and I believe she can take a whole lot more.  So we raise her up every morning and bring her down every night.  We don't let her touch the ground, and we fold her up right.  On second thought, I do like to brag... 'Cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged old Flag."
___________________________________________________________
 
"The Old Masters Wages"
 
I met a dear old man today
Who wore a Masonic pin.
It was old and faded like the man
Its edges were worn quite 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 of Jubala
Jubilo, and Jubalum."
 
He shouted, "Don't laugh at the work my son.
It's good and sweet and true.
And if you've traveled as you have said
You should give these things a due.
 
"The word, the sign, the token,
The sweet Masonic prayer,
The vow that all have taken
Who 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 obligation
for almost fifty years.
It has helped me through the hardships
and the failures full of tears.
 
"Now I'm losing my mind and my body.
Death is near but I don't despair.
I've lived my life upon the level
And I'm dying upon 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 Masonic Brothers
The only secret is to care.
May you live upon the level.
May you part upon the square.
 
(unknown)
 
___________________________________________________________
 
 

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