Masonic poet’s corner

  • Many things have been written about Freemasonry in countless books and in papers to be delivered to Masonic research associations, but how many of us know that there is wealth of beautiful material about Freemasonry written in the form of poems.

    Some of the world’s greatest men of letters who were Freemasons themselves, have written some wonderful poems. Let’s take Rudyard Kipling and Robbie Burns as just two examples, yet equally some less well known Masons have embodied the teachings and philosophy of Freemasonry in their poems and we will take a look at these too.

    There will be one or two poems appearing in this feature every month chosen by our ‘Masonic Poet Laureate’, Fred Lomax  and we hope you enjoy reading them.

    This month we have a poem by a relatively little known Masonic poet,  WBro Fay Hempstead who resided in the State of Arkansas.

  • The little lodge of long ago

    By Douglas Malloch

    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 to call
    The faithful to the 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 the 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 floors uncarpeted, and men
    Whose grammar falters now and then-
    For Craft, or Creed, or God Himself,
    Is not a book a book upon a shelf:
    They have a splendour that will touch
    A Lodge that isn’t very much.

    It wasn’t very much – and yet
    This made it great: there Mason’s met-
    And’ if a handful or a host,
    That always matters, matters most
    The beauty of the meeting hour
    Is not a thing of robe or flow’r
    However beautiful they seem:
    The greatest beauty is the gleam
    Of sympathy in honest eyes.
    A lodge is not a thing of size
    It is a thing of Brotherhood
    And that alone can make it good.

    This month a poem is present following the inspiring spectacle
    of the games of the same name just concluded in Canada

    Invictus

    By

    William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be,
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced or cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeoning of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the horror of the shade
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate
    How charged with punishment the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate
    I am the captain of my soul.