A tool resting upon a shelf
Can do nothing by itself.
But if taken up with purpose pure
It can build and shape for sure

The Mason’s tool will help him grow
If he looks inside to learn and know
The tool has a greater message for each
As life’s important lessons it does teach.

That tool in his hands can change his life.
Raise him above mortal strife
Used with purpose and with care
He can build a temple fair.

Some tools give a standard true,
To measure our lives through and through
While others shape a character fair
As we learn their lessons there.

The compass around us a circle draws
In which we overlook our flaws
With the plumb line and the level we meet others.
Upright and true we travel with our brothers

The gavel governs and teaches all alike
That our rough edges from us we should strike
Smoothing and shaping as a block of stone
Ready to stand before God’s holy throne.

With a twenty-four inch gauge
time is divided into work and rest,
Service to God and to our fellow man -
measured and laid out – drawn by the best.

A trowel binding into a sacred group
spreads the cement of brotherly love
Masons building, learning and growing -
guided with light from above.

We use our tools most sublime.
And take them up our lives to shape
Tools for learning – tools for growing
Tools for building – tools for knowing.

And when at last our journey ends
And from our hands the tools fall
When tis time to “Part upon the square”
May it be said of each and of all

They knew the lessons which were taught
And with those lessons hard they fought
To build a character so sublime
One noble, upright, pure and fine.

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--which is the root of every virtue.

When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellowmen.

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 make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself.

When he loves flowers, can hunt the 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 meaner drudgeries of life.

When star-crowned trees, and the glint of sunlight on flowing 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 any man to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be.

When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond sin.

When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope.

When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellowman, 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!

Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one
which it is trying to give all the world.

“Once in so Often,” King Solomon said,
Watching his quarrymen drill the stone,
“We will club our garlic and wine and bread
And banquet together beneath my Throne,
And the Brethren shall come to that mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less

“Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre,
Felling and floating our beautiful trees,
Say that the Brethren and I desire
Talk with our Brethren who use the seas.
And we shall be happy to meet them at mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less.

“Carry this message to Hiram Abif
Excellent Master of forge and mine
I and the Brethren would like it if
He and the Brethren will come to dine
(Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress)
As Fellow-Craftsmen - no more and no less.

“God gave the Hysop and Cedar their place
Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn
But that is no reason to black a man’s face
Because he is not what he hasn’t been born
And, as touching the Temple, I hold and profess
We are Fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less.

So it was ordered and so it was done,
And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark,
With foc’sle hands of the Sidon run
And Navy Lords from the Royal Ark
Came and sat down and were merry at mess,
As fellow-Craftsmen – no more and no less

The Quarries are hotter than Hiram’s forge
No one is safe from the dog’s whip’s reach
It’s mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge,
And it’s always’s blowing off Joppa beach
But once in so often, the messenger brings
Solomon’s mandate: “Forget these things!
Brother to Beggars and Fellow to the Kings,
Companion of Princes- forget these things!
Fellow-Craftsman, forget the things!”

There was Rundle, Station Master,
An' Beazeley of the Rail,
An Ackman, Commissariat,
An' Donkin o' the Jail;
An' Blake, Conductor-Sergeant,
Our Master twice was ‘e,
With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,
Old Framjee Eduljee.

Outside-"Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!
Inside-"Brother," an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was -Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge-out there/

We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
An' Saul the Aden Jew,
An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An' Amir Singh the Sikh, -
An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!

We 'adn't good regalia,
An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
Excep', per'aps, it's us.

For monthly, after Labour,
We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquets,
Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
Of the God 'e knew the best.

So man on man got talkin',
An’ not a Brother stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots
An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;
We'd say 'twas 'i hly curious,
An we’d all ride 'ome to bed,
With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

Full oft on Guv'ment service
This rovin' foot 'ath pressed.
An' bore fraternal greetin's
To the Lodges east an' west,
Accordin' as commanded,
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother-Lodge once more!

I wish that I might see them,
My Brethren black an' brown,
With the trichies smellin' pleasant
An' the hog-darn1 passin' down;
An' the old khansamah 2 snorin'
On the bottle-khana 3 floor,
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother-Lodge once more.

Outside 'Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!
Inside-"Brother," an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there I

1 Cigar Lighter 2 Butler 3 Pantry

A selection of Masonic Poetry

We acknowledge the assistance of the Province of West Lancashire and W.Bro Fred Lomax in the complilation of some of these poems.