Gems of Masonic Thought
An anthology of verse contributed by Members of the Circle
W.Bro. R. A. L. Harland, P.M., Lodge No. 1679.
President of the Circle
Freemasonry today is awakening to the great value of its own peculiar treasure of thought and word; on all sides there are signs that it is on the verge of entering into a Kingdom of research of such breadth and fertility as it has perhaps never before known. It is as though the Masonic world were undergoing a spiritual revitalisation, spurring it on to experience a fuller measure of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
At such a time, then, I deem it propitious to send out this small anthology of what has been already accomplished by members of this Circle in the way of poetic expression of Masonic mystic themes and teaching. I would emphasise that the secret of the inmost sanctuary is not in danger of profanation, since none but those who enter into that sacred shrine can understand it, and those even who penetrate to the Centre find, on passing out again, that there lips are sealed by the sheer insufficiency of language as a medium for conveying the sense of their supreme adventure. Indeed, the speech of every day has no terms for what is seen and known, and least of all can we hope for adequate definitions through the phrases and apparatus of logical reasoning. By the rhythm of their verse, by its quality of suggesting infinitely more than is directly said, the contributors to this anthology have striven to give what hints they may of the Reality eternally underlying all things. And it is precisely through the rhythm and high enchantment of their writing that we may catch fitful gleams from the Light from above which is supernal.
The authors of these intimations desire to remain anonymous, but I merely echo the sentiments of many of their Brethren and fellows when I convey our grateful thanks to them for work well and truly done.
"The Dormer, the window that gave light to the same."
Pray brethren, pause ye here awhile, during the search and quest
Stay and become the square white stones, forming the pavement blest
For far above, the Light shines down, piercing the dormer wide,
Shines down, and warms the paving stones, laid down on every side.
Here may we pause and gather, in the light from Him above,
Absorbing in our very souls, the blessed Truth and Love
Of Him, the World's Great Architect, the Highest Heavenly King,
To Whom the myriad angels bow; and praises ever sing!
Let us absorb the Light which here, offers, like Holy Graal,
To show the Way our feet must tread, the Way that cannot fail
To lead us, onward, upward, toward the Holy Height;
Our feet are safe upon the Path, this is the Path of Light
In chancels mystical as this, in temples such as these,
Bound with the firm cement of Love, in great Fraternities,
We will become the Living Stones, forming the walls and roof
Mayhap, some stones, the Dormer frame, their wisdom giving proof.
Whereer we be, in pavement wide, in wall, in step, in choir,
The Light will shine upon us all, one Holy Living Fire !
And we, adoring, will reflect, in countless shining rays
The rainbow hues of the Great Arch, Wisdom and Beauty raise
We seek for genuine secrets that were lost
Which time or circumstance may yet restore
While some there be prepared to count the cost
Too few persist to reach the Central Core.
This Centre, which we seek, is whence we came,
Also the goal to which we turn our eyes
By yearning towards the Sacred Mystic Name
In manner which is known to all the wise.
The Centre reached, the secrets too are found,
It is a point from which we cannot stray,
No need remains for us to look around
Full near at hand it is, not far away.
Circumference nowhere, everywhere the Centre
The door is there for all who will to enter.
THE WINDING STAIR
Upon the Winding Stairway to the Centre,
Each Mason has his own peculiar place,
And so that each may earn his right to enter
He has tremendous difficulties to face.
The Mystic Way is hard, but all must try,
To turn the ashlar rough to living stone,
Hand, also head and heart to purity ;
A work that must be carried out alone.
Upon the stair we stretch our hand behind
To help the backward brother on his way,
But looking upward those in front we find,
Prepare to shed on us a helping ray.
Thus every soul is bound to every other
And earns the privilege to call him " Brother."
Regenerated man is the ideal,
If world affairs are ever to improve,
To work together for the common weal
Impels us to forsake the selfish groove.
The way of rebirth leads to righteousness,
And all our baser parts must forthwith die;
Self must be purged of every sin's duress
Before heaven's realm is realised as nigh.
This lesson has been taught throughout the ages,
In myth and parable of every clime,
It is th'embodied wisdom of the sages
And still remains appropriate to our time.
What learn we from Hiram's assassination?
Through figured death we gain regeneration.
There is but One, to Whom we all will come,
And, in accord with what has gone before,
Will join with Him in Union; in His good time
And some there've been, who ill this Union Blest
Have found their Term of Quest, here, on this earth
Whilst others, searching and groping in the dark of light,
Have yet to And the Path, that onwards leads to Light.
If those of us, who, groping thus in darkness visible
Were but to raise our eyes in loving wonder
To that Bright Star, which rising in the East,
Brings Life and Comfort, Love and Truth to all
Then would the Way be manifestly clear:
No need to stumble, nor to turn aside
After cimmerean lights, so like to those of marshland,
Which led to quaking bog, or mournful pond
Nay rather, seeing clearly well the Way,
Passing each Veil of Wonder, Royal Arch, and Rosy Cross,
We reach, at last, the bourne of all our wand'rings,
And with the Star, effect the Union Blest.
OUR PERSONAL TEMPLE
The Master hidden in the heart of man
Ceaselessly waits his chance to manifest
If on our temple gates we place a ban
Whate'er we miss is at our own behest.
"Behold I stand at each one's door and knock,
I wait to show each one the better way.
But if the gates at East, North, South you lock,
No light can come to turn your night to day