Some Favorite Masonic Poems

A Visit To A Country Lodge
Ten Master Masons
The Level And The Square
Last Night I Knelt Where Hiram Knelt
I Sat In Lodge With You
Take My Hand; Follow Me
Let's Go To Lodge Tonight
On The Square
They All Came Just For Me

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 to 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 Lodges 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 Lodges 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.

Author Unknown

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"The Level And The Square"

by Brother Rob Morris Poet Laureate of Freemasonry

(This poem, written in August, 1854, is the
most popular Masonic Poem of all time.)

We meet upon the Level and we part upon the Square.
What words of precious meaning, those words Masonic are!
Come, let us contemplate them! They are worthy of a thought;
In the very walls of Masonry the sentiment is wrought.

We meet upon the Level, though from every station come,
The rich man from his palace and the poor man from his home;
For the rich must leave his wealth and state outside the Mason's door,
And the poor man finds his best respect upon the Checkered Floor.

We act upon the Plumb - 'tis the orders of our Guide.
We walk upright in virtue's way and lean to neither side;
The All-Seeing Eye that reads our hearts doth bear us witness true
That we still try to honor God and give each man his due.

We part upon the Square, for the world must have its due;
We mingle with the multitude, a faithful band and true.
But the influence of our gatherings in memory is green,
And we long upon the Level to renew the happy scene.

There's a world where all are equal - we are hurrying toward it fast,
We shall meet upon the Level there when the gates of Death are past;
We shall stand before the Orient, and our Master will be there
To try the blocks we offer with His own unerring Square.

We shall meet upon the Level there, but never thence depart.
There's a Mansion - 'tis all ready for each trusting, faithful heart.
There's a Mansion, and a welcome, and a multitude is there
Who have met upon the Level and been tried upon the Square.

Let us meet upon the Level, then while laboring patient here;
Let us meet and let us labor, though the labor be severe;
Already in the Western sky the signs bid us prepare
To gather up our Working Tools and part upon the Square.

Hands round, ye faithful Brotherhood, the bright fraternal Chain.
We part upon the Square below to meet in Heaven again!
What words of precious meaning, those words Masonic are --
We meet upon the Level and we part upon the square

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Last Night I Knelt Where Hiram Knelt

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

Tho' 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 that while I'm 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 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.

Pat M. Armstrong

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I Sat In Lodge With You

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 and good
In this: "I sat in lodge with you."

Though in far lands one needs must roam
By sea and shore and hill and plain,
Those words bring him a touch of home
And lighten tasks that seem in vain.

Men's faces are no longer strange
But seem as those he always knew
When some one brings the joyous change
With this: "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 forget.

When all the world seems gray and cold
And I am weary, worn and blue
Then comes this golden thought I hold
You said: "I sat in lodge with you."

When to the last great Lodge you fare
My prayer is that I may be
One of your friends who wait you there
Intent your smiling face to see.

We, with the warden at the gate,
Will have a pleasant task to do;
We'll call, though you come soon or late:
"Come in! We sat in lodge with you!"

Wilbur D. Nesbit

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Take My Hand; Follow Me

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 talk, 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 what 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;

With nervous attention a path I then trod;
A pathway in darkness to the altar of God.
With cable-tow and hoodwink, 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 Mason's 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 housekeepers 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 are again darkened, my sight again to fail;
I sense the Master's presence mid my family's silent wail.
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;

Sir Knight Alvin F. Bohne, P.M.

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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.

(author unknown)

(Webmaster's note: A poem with the same name but entirely different stanza layout, rhyme scheme, and construction was sent to me by V. Wor. Bro. Bruce Miller Twin City Lodge No. 509 G.R.C.. That poem was written by R. Wor. Bro. Charles Fotheringham. Although somewhat similar, they do not appear to be the same poem. Brother Fotheringham's poem may be found in his book, "Ramblings in Masonry".

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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.

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They All Came Just For Me

Something big is going on here.
Or so I thought that night,
As the Masons came to gather round
the Great and lesser lights.

One from here and one from there
From places far and wide,
They came to do, I knew not what,
As they gathered there inside.

But from each man I was greeted
With a smile and voice of cheer.
One said, "so you're the candidate.
The reason that we're here."

I scarcely knew just what he meant,
For this was my "first degree."
There must be much for them to do
Before they got to me.

Surely these guys would not travel
for the sake of just one man.
Yes, there must be much for them to do,
Before my part began.

The "Brother Tiler" was my company
As I waited at the door
To step into this brand new realm
I had not known before.

They shared with me the three Great Lights
and some tools of the trade,
That I might learn a thing or two
of how a man be better made.

When at last I had been seated
In this brotherhood of men
The Master then began to bring
The meeting to an end.

And with all things then completed,
They stayed a little more,
To eat and drink and share a laugh
Before heading toward the door.

But as we left I understood
And then began to see.
That they all came for one reason.
They all came just for me.

Dear brothers I pray every lodge
Will make new ones like me,
Feel as welcome as these brothers did,
When they held my First Degree.

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A Visit To A Country Lodge

    Back in 1921 Carl Claudy started writing a series of Masonic short stories to teach Masonic manners, rules and traditions entitled "Old Tiler Talks". One of my favorite stories was "A Visit To A Country Lodge" I have enjoyed reading it many times. I always thought that it would have been great written as a poem like "The Lodge Room Over Simpkins Store".

    So for better or worse and with apologies to Brother Claudy, just for fun, I rewrote the story as a poem.

"Hey, we missed you at the Lodge meeting Brother Dowell."
"I was out in the country and attended the meeting there."
"Well, you really missed one here, the banquet was swell,
the lodge room had cut flowers and decorated with care.

Wouldn't those ol' country boys have really had a treat,
if they could see a big blow-out like ours was last night?"
"Yes, I guess they would, their Lodge was plain but neat,
but they made me open my eyes at their meeting all right.

Their Lodge is in the schoolhouse. A two stopy building,
erected by the Masonic Lodge, oh so many years before.
It's provided rent free to the school board for schooling.
The Lodge Room's up the outside stair to the upper floor."

I was told about the meeting and said I'd like to attend.
The Master took me to the butcher and I shook his hand.
The butcher called up nine others to examine me no end.
Those ten me ask questions, then answers they'd demand.

They made an event of the examination and it was tough.
They ask me from how many wives King Solomon had,
and where the Master hung his hat. It was really rough.
In which hand does the Master carry the lantern, lad?

They enjoyed themselves a lot for three hours or more.
From the moment that it ended, my status had a change.
I was treated like a prince. Welcomed at anyone's door.
Now they knew I was a Brother. I was no longer strange.

Next day, the farmers commenced coming in at daylight.
By eleven the rail fence behind the court house was full,
of gray mares with colts close by. Farmers, faces bright,
in their Sunday clothes stood around shooting the bull.

Whittling on sticks and talking 'Masonary on the square.
The most important occasion of the day come about noon.
Dinner was served by the wives, in the room up the stair.
I expected a luncheon, but it was a feast, we found soon!

Whole hams, whole turkeys with the stuffing sticking out.
and right in front of me with an apple stuck in its jaw,
a whole roasted pig, gallons of gravy and even sauerkraut
The tables had to stand cross-legged as we all soon saw,

To keep from falling down with the load that they held.
Soon a little child gathered buttons scattered like seed
under the table and the wives honor was upheld.
Well, I won't make you hungry telling about the feed.

Enough to say that we ate and talked until four o'clock.
I never had such a time in my life. They made me speak
and I told all the stopies that I had heard in Little Rock
this winter till the Master said I ought to travel in a show.

The women cleared up the place and we men went out.
We sat on the fence till six and smoked pipe and cheroot.
The Lodge meeting opened at six o'clock or thereabout.
The Master wore a slouch hat, there was not even a suit.

The Senior Warden had his hound sitting by his chair,
but, I've never seen a more beautiful Masonic opening,
or a better rendered master's degree. It was with a flair.
The degree had finished and the lecture was inspiring.

I thought the work was over, but then I saw t'wasn't all.
The Master finished all the work in the ritual, then said,
Jim, you are now a Mason. I fear it'll be years fore y'all
will really know what that means, but that's all ahead.

There isn't a man in this room, that hasn't watched you,
As you grew from a little shaver in a diapers to a man.
And every one of us watched you all through school too.
Through life, you knew you had no father, so we began.

Your father belonged to this lodge and sat in every chair.
Although you hardly remember him, every man present,
followed him to his grave and every one of us will share,
his life was spotless and square as a man's life was spent.

Jim, while we don't know much about heaven, our souls
cry out the truthfulness of the life to come, and we know
that in that great beyond your father name is on the rolls
looking down this minute and is glad and he has a glow.

Watch your career as a man and Mason. Be confident,
and hope. He and we will watch you from now on, Jim.
He knew when you got into the habit of playing ten-cent
limit with the bunch down at the hotel and it hurt him.

In your future, Jim, try to remember he's looking down
and when there comes up a question of right and wrong
try to think what he would do, without even a frown.
Remember, now you take the honor of our old lodge along.

The lodge where your father was Master and loved it so.
You are a man now Jim, but when you were a little one,
your daddy would take you in his arms and speaking low,
pray God would guide you in the path that you his son,

has started in tonight and partly for your daddy's sake,
partly for this old lodge, partly for our God's delight.
but mostly for your own sake, Jim. I beg you never take
a step that'll make us regret what we have done tonight."

Jim was in tears and I will admit that I was sniffing too
when that old man got through. And, I didn't even recall,
that he wasn't wearing a top hat or a tuxedo, all I did do,
was become aware, that as a true Mason he stood tall."

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