Table of Contents
Three Masons: An Introduction to My Poetry
- Surely you heard this many times over
- though perhaps not told quite in this way
- Of three operative masons who were working,
- and how each was accosted one day.
- Each in turn was asked, "What are you doing?"
- then in turn, each one answered this way:
- Said the first, "I am earning my paycheck
- at this job, though I find it quite bland.
- But it pays for my bills and my bowling
- and my satellite TV so grand
- And next month, with my wife I am planning
- for a cruise down to old Yucatan."
- Said the next, "I'm enjoying my working,
- where I'm building with stone upon stone.
- Working outdoors, with hand and with hammer —
- but say, I am not just a drone!
- I expect one day soon to make foreman,
- and some day this whole company own!"
- The third was a young man with star-lit eyes,
- who looked up with a far-away stare,
- "I'm building a cathedral," he replied,
- "A mansion for our Master up there;
- An edifice to inspire generations;
- be a beacon to folks everywhere!"
- The examiner pondered these answers
- as three ashlars, dressed for a wall.
- (And you, my dear friends, can surely see
- that a moral is soon to befall)
- As I say, three ashlars, two somewhat rough
- but worth further working withall.
- The third though was cracked through and through!
- The man was fired on the spot!
- "We're building a Krispy Kream Donuts!
- Take your church plans and go take a trot!
- We'll have donuts divine, "holey rollers",
- and coffee to keep spirits hot."
- Now if there's a moral (no promise)
- it's that both dreams and pratfalls are dear
- That there's times to rise up to the heavens
- but times when you'll fall on your rear.
- Don't expect only haiku and sonnets
- for a limerick can still please the ear.
May 22-27, 2004 by Owen Lorion
Written especially for a reading for Cerrillos Lodge #19
It's been a lot of years and a lot of poems since this one,
but I still think it's my best Masonic poem ever.
The Masonic Trestleboard
The tools of the draftsman are many and varied,
The tools of a trade, a craft, and an art.
T-square, triangle, pencils and curves,
Rulers to gauge sundry units and parts.
Brave Hiram Abif, Master of Masons,
Was also a master of structure design.
Great was his wisdom, great was his art,
Great are his lessons on down to our time.
For Hiram it was who knew that his tools
Included one known as the Trestleboard.
It seems not a tool — it makes no alteration —
It's merely a table on easel-legs shored.
But ahh, Abif knew it was the foundation
Which steadied his plans, and held them aright.
Just as the cornerstone anchors a building
Enabling it thus to raise to grand height.
And so, on his trestleboard, he made notations
Framing each day the work to be done.
And the workmen could see, from the notes penciled thereon,
How though they were many, they could still work as one.
Down to this day, this still is our fashion,
Down to this day, we still follow this mode,
For the basis of all is communication,
Whether passed on by memos or Internet nodes.
Singly the good we may do has its limits:
We may duplicate deeds, or cancel them out.
But the trestleboard gives us both grounding and pattern,
Directing our duties, dispelling our doubts.
What one man may accomplish, though his talents be mighty,
May be good, may be clever, may show plenty of zeal.
But aligned by the trestleboard with purpose and fervor
The good works of the Masons doth make the world reel!
"There are two worlds:
the world we can measure
with line and rule, and
the world that we feel with
our hearts and imagination."
~~ James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784-1859,
author of "Abou Ben Adhem")
The stonemason measured with line and rule,
With string, square and compasses as his tools.
Each block of solid quarried stone
To build God a solid, earthly home.
Kirk and cathedral and city hall
The operative stonemasons builded them all.
They worked with their hands (few were sages),
But they knew their work would last for ages.
The speculative Mason of today
Must measure his work in another way.
No longer with stone, but with mortal clay
He shapes his world, day by day.
Seeking light, more light, and then
Helping make good men, better men.
Giving heart to the wisdom of ages
With imagination he earns his wages.
Each in a different age and day,
Each in his own time's mode and way.
Yet each makes his world a better place
By doing his share for the daily race.
Solid stone, or a mind and soul
Carefully formed for a lofty goal;
To build a temple worthy of God
From the raw materials of the sod.
by Owen Lorion, 10/19/02
(the anniversary of Leigh Hunt's birth)
Brother Lorion writes, "This one is inspired by an article by Bro. Mark Z. Oldknow in the August 2002 issue "The Gavel." the newsletter of Montezuma Lodge in Santa Fe. Some of the allusions may seem strange without reference to that article, but I think if you can read it with the understanding that this is only part of the symbolism, you can still appreciate it."
Tools Of A Masonic Lodge
What is the meaning of the Plumb, the Junior Warden's sign?
What does it mean to be upright, and worthy all the time?
The Junior Warden calls to us to rest from heavy labors;
To take refreshment when we can, and get from life its savors.
To build our bodies up and straight, which duties oft grind down.
To rest and to recuperate, before another round.
But let us do this fittingly, not through excess or greed
For in our rest we show the rest the mettle of our breed.
What is the meaning of the Level, the Senior Warden's sign?
What does the level mean to us, to honor its design?
The Senior Warden calls us to the work that must be done
By every man together, aworking all as one.
For though we do not do the same, yet each must do his part.
One man here designs the plan, while this man pulls a cart.
Yet none is nobler than he who always does his duty
And none is lesser though it seem his duty may be lowly.
What is the meaning of the Square, Worshipful Master's sign?
Why does this angle mean so much, what makes its use so prime?
The Square is formed of both the Plumb and of the Level, too.
Together they form honesty, the hallmark of our crew.
If I can be the best I can, a plumb and upright man;
And treat my neighbor as myself, with level even hand,
Then I can say that I have been in my life square and true
When the Great Architect of All comes to collect His due.
Written for The New Mexico Masonic Lodge Of Research, and read during a presentation at their meeting.
- Research is such a funny thing —
- I marvel at it daily.
- Some do it, oh!, so grudgingly
- While others do it gaily.
- Some spend days, or weeks, or years
- Donating hours freely
- While others will not turn a leaf
- Without demanding, "Pay me!"
- Some think that Research starts and ends
- With, say, a dictionary.
- While others hoard on their own shelves
- A bursting libarary.
- These are they who fondle tomes
- With reverence, and gently;
- Not those who only read a book
- As oft as Comet Halley.
- Some there are for whom archives
- Are sweet as any daisy;
- While others think that musty books
- Smell more than slightly gamey.
- So let them watch their football bowls,
- Or bowl in their alley.
- We'll talk about our own Research,
- Or search for what is, is really.
- And if we don't always agree
- Upon each cherished theory,
- Well, intellectual debate
- Can still be quite a melee!
A Meeting of the Scottish Rite
- We meet again as a lodge of men
- united in one service,
- And as thirty-some we thither come
- each for an inner purpose.
- The gavel rings, the ritual swings,
- thus starts this meet of ours.
- We invoke deity, say "so mote it be,"
- and the minutes drone on for hours!
- We're voting tonight with the black and the white,
- hoping that all choose the lighter;
- Approving election to this Lodge of Perfection
- to help us each ever raise higher.
- More business ensues: we distribute our dues
- to sundry worthwhile projects.
- Such-and-so a sum for what sounds like fun,
- but most for charity's prospects.
- Goals are laid and plans are made
- for what we will do this next season:
- For a good deed story, or the order's glory,
- everything is done for a reason.
- Our officers preen as they run this machine --
- I'm grateful for all their labor.
- They make worthwhile for us rank-and-file
- this time that we come to savor;
- At last we adjourn for another turn
- of our intervening lives.
- But we'll gather again, brother and friend,
- and our fellowship so thrives.
- We'll meet again as a lodge of men
- united in one service,
- And as thirty-some we'll thither come
- each for an inner purpose.
[The building this poem is about is rather fully and accurately described. This cloudy-day
photograph does not do justice to the bright pink color imparted by the New Mexico sun! And the sunrise and
sunset colors are even more vivid than middays'! Really, ask any Santafean, even if they've never heard of
the Masons, what the main landmarks in town are and they'll tell you, "the Plaza, Villa Linda Mall, the
You can click on the picture if you'd like more information about the building.
The Scottish Rite Temple
Oh, hast thou seen the Castle,
The Palace of Pepto-Bismol?
Oh hast thou seen the pink castle,
That sits on Fort Marcy Hill?
'Tis the Temple of the Scottish Rite,
Where good men share in fellowship bright.
A showplace is this temple,
Grandeur mixed with gaud.
Blood "Sangre de Christos" at sunset;
The color at noonday — Oh, gawd!
'Tis the Temple of the Scottish Rite,
Where faithful men pledge to bonds tight.
Inspired by a Moorish fort
That o'erlooks the plains of Spain,
It's Santa Fe's own Alhambra,
Standing tall in New Mexico's rain!
'Tis the Temple of the Scottish Rite,
Where men are raised in morals right.
This building is a wonder
For all the town to see.
Steps it has in plentitude —
To the uttermost degree!
'Tis the Temple of the Scottish Rite,
Where fine men vow with oaths of might.
This building is a metaphor
For life in all its glory;
Its stairs have as many ups and downs
As the soapiest opera story!
'Tis the Temple of the Scottish Rite,
Where charitable men heed the destitutes' plight.
Now you have heard my poem.
My song may seem quite light.
Should you think it is masking affection to
Poke fun? You're entirely right!
For 'tis the Temple of the Scottish Rite,
Which welcomes the best and the most upright.
Sangre de Christos: [Spanish] "Blood of Christ" is both a deep red color and the name of the
mountain range which borders Santa Fe.
Plains of Spain...New Mexico's rain: The Alhambra does indeed overlook the plains of Spain.
"The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains" may be a nice elocutionary phrase, but the irony is that
New Mexico is noted for being an exceptionally rainless region.
Steps ... in plentitude: built before elevators, the building has an incredible number of
stairways! As an aside, the first elevator in the state was in a Masonic Lodge, but in Las Vegas,
New Mexico, not Santa Fe.
Well, I have now attended my first cornerstone laying ceremony. Actually, "dedication" would be a better word, since the building is already mostly up, though not quite completed. The dedication was simple, brief, but very powerful and dignified. Trying to write a poem about it, I'm afraid I was forced to compromise either rhyme or meter, so the result isn't the most lyrical, but I hope you'll forgive my shortcomings. Following is the inscription on the cornerstone, and then my poem of the event.
14th day of December, 2002
NEIL P. MERTZ
The Grand Lodge of
New Mexico, A.F.& A.M.
William T. Beckett, G.M.
Estancia Lodge #33 A.F.& A.M.
Paul G. Vernagelli, W.M.
The Cornerstone Laying
- First with square, with level and plumb
- The cornerstone was tested
- For right angles, flat, and upright
- In the wall where now it rested.
- Then with corn, with wine and oil
- The cornerstone was blesséd
- For the future of the building,
- To its purpose consecrated.
- Said the Deputy Grand Master,
- "I shall test it with the square,
- A symbol of morality, to prove
- Angles are all right and fair."
- Said the Senior Grand Warden,
- "I shall test it with the level,
- A symbol of equality, to show
- Surfaces are horizontal."
- Said the Junior Grand Warden,
- "I shall test it with the plumb,
- A symbol of uprightness, finds
- Sides will stand what is to come."
- Then the first poured out the corn
- Symbol of prosperity
- That the building may thus flourish
- And good usage it may see.
- Next the second poured out wine
- Symbol of happiness
- For all we have and sometime hope for
- With joyous gratefulness.
- Last the third poured out some oil
- Symbol of tranquillity
- That the peacefulness of Heaven
- Will rest upon humanity.
- Thus this polished granite stone
- With ceremony was dedicated
- By the Masons, for the people,
- That the building there created
- Would serve for many years to come
- The needs of its community,
- And show the care of Mason founders
- Of all lands, from sea to sea.
Fire light, and incandescent;
Sun, moon, star, and florescent,
Light we need to see the world
And its wonders all unfurled.
And the Light of wise discussions
Spanning continents and oceans
Helps to give to men and Masons
Insights to their wider stations.
Thus we find from Brothers distant
Answers to our quests, insistent;
And we learn with fine discernment
Facts to counter doubts insurgent.
Symbolism is revealed,
Mysteries are unconcealed.
And amidst this weighty chatter
Oft are friendships formed that matter.
The Internet, while mostly trivial
Can at times be quite convivial
As electrons, with their might
Pass on to us: Masonic Light.
Written Dec.23, 2002 for the Masonic Light
but applicable to Masonic Light from any source or form.
How to Draw A Circle Between Parallels
- Just put a circle at this spot.
- Mark the center with a dot.
- This represents my Lodge, or me,
- or maybe, all humanity.
- Then draw another circle there,
- it doesn't really matter where.
- This represents your Lodge, or you,
- or maybe the G.A.o.t.U.
- All that matters is the size,
- not on what line each circle lies.
- They must be equal, that's the key
- to this bit of geometry.
- Now add two tangents to this layout
- connecting both the circles laid out.
- One on the this side, one on the that —
- note how they now form a path
- Linking circles to each other
- as if linking friend to brother.
- And twice, the symbol now here dwells
- of circle between parallels.
- This symbol of the two Saints John
- thus can most easily be drawn;
- And note it's simpler than done by one
- (besides, with friends it's much more fun!)
- Throughout recent history,
- the Masons have been plagued
- By a misapprehension,
- to a sad misnomer pegged.
- This group of goodly fellows,
- a brotherhood of man,
- Has been accused of being
- nothing but an evil scam!
- What is the foundation
- to disseminate such woe,
- To spread such allegations
- that the Masons are a foe?
- It is the reputation
- of our sweet Society
- Of being much renowned
- for its fabled SECRECY!
- "Would you be a Mason?
- Answer yes or answer no!"
- There were times it could be dangerous
- to tell some people so.
- Though the Nazis took their vengeance
- mainly on the Jewish folk,
- The Mason also had to take
- a care to whom he spoke.
- There are the handshakes and the passwords
- handed down for centuries
- (Not that different from boys
- with a clubhouse in the trees).
- But what really makes us secret,
- which the profane do despise,
- Is the RITUALS we practice,
- which we hide from prying eyes.
- "Is it true you worship Satan?
- Do you really ride a goat?
- Is it fact that if you tell,
- then someone will slit your throat?"
- Oh, the myths that people make up
- when they do not know the story
- Of our "mystic" symbolism,
- and our "shrouded" allegory!
- Through the mischief of old Taxil,
- and his forgeries of Pike
- The Luciferian Heresy is
- a simple lie outright.
- It's outlived generations,
- it's been totally debunked,
- But repetitious demagogues
- won't let it lay defunct.
- When we address our Maker as
- the G. A. O. T. U.
- Do you wonder they assume
- there's a GOAT among our crew?
- Great Architect Of The Universe
- may be what we call God,
- But that's so we will not argue
- in the confines of our Lodge.
- The vows and oaths we take
- are Draconian and fell,
- (They bring to mind the punishments
- of ancient Israel).
- Yet they're purely metaphoric —
- always will be, ever were —
- But they bind us all as brothers
- with a bond made to endure.
- We say we're not political,
- we do not foment war.
- Then we brag about our heros:
- Washington and Bolivar.
- We've o'er our share of princes,
- legislators, presidents.
- This is a contradiction,
- and a secret represents.
- We say we're not religious,
- that we promulgate no creed,
- Yet we call our buildings temples,
- and we Bible verses read.
- We adapt to Jew and Gentile,
- to Hinduism and Islam
- So there must be a secret,
- we can do this without qualm.
- Master Mason is a title
- that's not arrogant to bear,
- But Worshipful, or Potentate,
- or Grand Exalted chair?
- The titles become fanciful,
- the hats look awfully frilly.
- What's the secret men respectfully
- will seem to act this silly?
- There is secret piled on secret,
- but they really don't mean shucks
- Any more than do the trappings
- of our mighty muck-a-mucks.
- What we're really all about
- is the betterment of people,
- Just as standing on the level
- makes us all each others' equal.
- So what's the answer brothers,
- how do we shake this curse
- Of being known as "secret",
- and suspect of even worse?
- Let's try to change the thinking —
- starting with the friends we know —
- That we're not a "Secret Order",
- that's a term that's got to go.
- Instead let's say the Masons
- are a Lodge of "Mysteries".
- Our rituals are plays:
- detective stories if you please.
- And just as it would spoil the play
- to give away the end
- So we conceal the ritual,
- our mystery to defend.
- As a "Mystery Society"
- then let us now be known,
- With the Mysteries of the Ages
- as our Lodges' stepping stones.
- Let the Mysteries of the Symbols
- and the Mysteries of the Rite
- Lend an air of Mystic Mysteriousness
- to Masonry tonight!
[The following is offered as a humorous homage to all the
Shriners' Circus folks who have done so much to help so many!
The Flies' Circus
- The flies are having a circus,
- oh, come see the circus today!
- The arial acrobatics
- could take your breath away!
- The flies are having a circus,
- they're buzzing all over town,
- Each performer is wearing
- their finest gossamer gown.
- The trapeze act is a wonder,
- see them swing through the air,
- And to make it even more daring,
- the trapeze isn't there!
- Cast your eyes on the tightrope,
- many times their height from the ground,
- Where the walkers balance so lightly,
- and even hang upside down!
- The clowns are simply amazing —
- you see just one for a time —
- But as soon as you grow complacent,
- out pops a hundred and nine!
- Fly jugglers are not contented
- with juggling things that can drop.
- Instead, they juggle each other,
- in spirals and loops and on top!
- The flies, they have their own freak show,
- complete with their Hairiest Miss!
- The Fly With Ten-Thousand Eyeballs!
- The Probiscis To Probiscis Kiss!
- And don't forget all the vendors,
- selling e.coli snow-cones galore!
- Concocted to keep all the maggots
- clamoring back for more.
- But daringest of all the acts,
- the one that death defies,
- That challenges coördination,
- between the hand and eyes,
- Is the act of the Animal Trainer,
- dare-devil of the Big Top,
- Who comes just close enough to me,
- to give me the chance to go
8/26/01 (after eating al fresco at a restaurant that shall remain nameless)
Fly The Flag Proudly
Fly the flag,
As banner or bunting,
The colors that say,
"Freedom's gone a-hunting;
Vows to assuage
All types of repression,
Committed to ending
The tyrant's aggression."
So fly the flag proudly;
Long may it offer
Succor and hope
To the world's son and daughter!
An Old Mason's Thanksgiving Thoughts
Today's a day when we'll feast till we burst
On turkey and fixings and all that good stuff
But today, my dear Master, I want to say first
That I know that my thanks will not be enough.
Along with the laughter, I've had many tears
On the this journey through life to my doddering age
And yet I am thankful I've had many more years
Than the young men sacrificed to war's rage.
I'm thankful for the gift of unlimited wealth,
(Though not happy with my bank account's pressure).
For the greatest of riches are outside my self
Family, Lodge mates and friends are the treasure.
I'm thankful I'm good-looking without being vain!
You laugh at me, handsome or humble?
Yet each line has a history of laughter or pain;
If I didn't look like me, then I'd grumble.
I'm thankful for faith which is there to sustain
When life's hardships get rough and adversity riles
That could I but view the Great Trestleboard's pane
The Architect's plan is to make use of these trials.
This is a start, though there's more I could say
Except that it's time to go get my plate full.
I'm glad that once more it's Thanksgiving Day,
'Cause I cherish the chance to list why I'm so grateful.
the life of haiku, just as
for Masonic light.
Three: the Sun, the Moon,
and the Star of the Lodge, the
Doric, Iconic, Tuscan,
Seven: Grammar, Speech,
Logic, Math, Geometry,
Music, the Heavens.
The Working Tools
The working tools of
Masonry are the Level,
Square, and Compasses.
Level, to even,
that no Mason be inclined
to pride or hauteur.
Square, to be upright,
honest in everything
to God and to Man.
inside circle from out;
passions hold in check.
The working tools of
Masonry are the Gavel,
Gauge, Plumb, and Trowel.
Gavel, setting maul,
blunt tool for rough shaping of
a man's character.
Gauge of twenty-four,
measures of the length of days,
divided three ways.
Plumb, vertical angle
right to the Earth; are we
Trowel, Master's tool,
for once the cement has set
there can be no change.
Canongate Kilwinning Lodge #2, in Edinburgh, Scotland, is the lodge which has traditionally declared "The Poet Laureate of Freemasonry," having named as Poet Laureate of their lodge Robert Burns, Rudyard Kipling, and other poets great and not so great. Some of the best are mentioned in this song.
okl, Feb 2007.
A Song To Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No.2
Oh, sing of Canongate Kilwinning
Font of Grand Scotland of lore
Where Masonry's poets are swilling
Spirits to the spirits of yore!
We'll drink a pint for old Robbie
We kept him from going to sea
Jamaica was to be his new hobby
But we published his poems for free!
Tap a hogshead for the Ettrick Shepherd
A good man of letters was he
Scotch spelling he wrote as he heard
Dialect delighting the literati.
Mind, we must toast a man from the East
Rudyard's among us, no greater are found
Writer of Masons, of men and of beast
He's more than a toast -- let's drink a whole round!
Mackay tells extraordinary delusions,
Surfaceman keeps us firm on the rails,
Then with a rhyme of childhood allusions
Setoun weaves pleasant nursery tales.
The taproom resounds with braw toasts
When lodge has let out for the evening
Summoning Poet Laureate ghosts
To sing of Canongate Kilwinning.
The Last Proficiency
When you take your last demit to that Great Lodge in the sky
Where St. Peter is the Tyler, don't make him ask you why
You're there to gain admittance for the remnant of your soul;
Instead you should be listed already on the roll.
When your proficiency is taken by Senior Deacon, good St. John,
You should be prepared to answer what you did 'fore you passed on.
He won't care about the money that you spend for bonds or stocks,
But the care you spend for others overwhelmed by life's hard knocks.
There won't be any question of the kind of car you own
But if you use it to help others who were elsewise bound to home.
You won't be asked your social class, nor what salary you earn,
But if you dealt both fair and square with others in your turn.
There won't be any question of the value of your house,
But if you loved your children, and treated kind your spouse.
You won't be asked about the stuff you owned while here on earth
But if that stuff owned you, by the illusion of its worth.
The costly clothes won't matter, that line your closet's walls
Nor all the dollars that you spent in fancy stores and malls;
But rather what you gave away to succor the distressed,
For what you gave with charity, for that you will be blessed.
You won't be asked about your job, or rank, or work
But only if you did your best, and didn't dodge or shirk.
You won't be asked about your lofty titles or degrees,
But if the world was bettered in using your abilities.
No question will be asked of who, important, you may know,
But if you were a friend to those both greater and below;
For those who hate their fellow man for class or creed or race
Are unlikely to be comfortable to see the Master's face.
You won't be asked the words of all the rituals you know,
But if you know the meanings of the morals that they show.
For the passes, signs, and handshakes are but emblems here below;
We'll not need them in that Great Lodge where we one day hope to go.
There won't be any question of how handsome you may be,
But if you have a happy, helpful personality
For the deeds you do for others while in this mortal Lodge
Will determine your admittance to the Heavenly Lodge of God's.
Yes, the questions will be many, let your answers then be bold
That you fitly be admitted to the Lodge, and there behold
The Master with his gavel, and your brothers one and all
Who have trod the path before you to gain entrance to this hall.
There the Architect Supreme, who put the Universe in place,
Will welcome you with honor to this sacred Lodge of Grace
Where every man's a Brother, and every Brother is a friend
And the toils of life are over, and the glories never end.
Jan. 22, 2008
As with the poem Masonic Light, this was written for a specific organization (The Masonic Society), but can be read equally well as a poem on Internet Masonry in general.
On The Level
- We meet upon the level, we shall part upon the square,
- For the Society Masonic is now upon the air.
- The pulses flow through cyberspace
- Electron beams glow all apace
- Virtually, we're face to face
- As Brothers from all o'er the place,
- From nearly everywhere!
- We hold our actions to the plumb, within our passion's compass
- Yet our Society Masonic to the pinnacle may jump us.
- We'll seek the good of Masonry
- That honest men may come and see
- How good we are, how good we'll be
- For all of earth's humanity
- Whene'er we raise a rumpus!
- We reck our lives by measured gauge, spread goodwill with a trowel,
- And seeking after wisdom is the gist of our avowal.
- For we shall always seek the light,
- Defend the truth with all our might,
- Keep our courage in the night
- To stand up steady for the right
- And ne'er throw in the towel.
- We shape with maul and chisel, per the precepts set by G..,
- By laws that God has given, by laws of Geometry.
- We build of quarried stone
- Which we polish and we hone;
- God builds of mind and bone
- Till a soul is upright grown
- And a Mason he shall be!
Monday, October 9, 2006, my wife, Brenda Watson, was installed as Worthy Matron of her O.E.S. chapter (for the third time, second time at Santa Fe #19). In honor of the occasion I wrote the following sonnet.
A Sonnet for the
Order of the Eastern Star
Hail the Glory of the Eastern Star,
All give hail from near and far!
Honor give to its sisters five,
Choicest of women then alive
Adah Ruth Esther; Martha, Electa,
Each one chosen to be an exemplar;
Assigned a color, a brilliant hue
For the lesson taught that is her due.
Red green white, yellow and blue
Symbols of fidelity, loyal and true;
The pentagram, the five-pointed star,
shines out to the world what you are:
A light in the East, a banner unfurled,
Making a difference, changing the world!
October 9, 2006
This poem is an exceptional example of chiasma, the use of reversal in poetry. It opens with what the world should do for the OES, and closes with what the OES should do for the world. The women are listed in chronological order, the colors in reverse order. The star points represent the women, the women's colors represent the star points.
The author writes: My wife, Brenda Watson, is often called upon to play piano or organ for the Order of the Eastern Star. So while she was playing for them at a seminar in Los Alamos, I wrote the following poem to her:
Organist of the O.E.S.
Brenda is the organist
For meetings of the O.E.S.
She keeps the meetings far from drear
By playing what they like to hear.
Sometimes she'll play a march so prancing
That everyone will feel like dancing.
And when she plays a funeral dirge,
To weep will be the general urge.
She sounds a patriotic air,
And all adore their nation fair!
Music sweet and soft, pastoral,
Brings lightness, and a light, auroral.
A call to arms by music martial
Will make the whole assembly marshal!
Plays a song of past love lost,
And all emit a sigh, so soft.
Plays the vibrant victory triumph,
Honored feel the souls, defiant!
Plays with reverence of God's love,
And all hear heavenly choirs above.
Yes, Brenda plays the keyboard sweet
With talent in her hands and feet;
But to her audience it seems
She gives to them their souls and dreams.
Betty & Doris, A Poetic Anecdote
I had an interesting challenge presented to me recently. My wife Brenda is in the Order of the Eastern
Star, and is presiding officer of the Santa Fe chapter, with the title of Worthy Matron. At ceremonies a
few days hence, she will be making some gift presentations to a couple officers of the state-wide
organization, the Worthy Grand Matron (Betty, who chose the bell as a symbol for
her year in office) and the Grand Organist (Doris S.). Appropriate greeting cards
for such presentations weren't found in Hallmark, so I endeavoured to add a personal touch with some poetry,
and decided on the acrostic form, a dubious decision since both names were odd numbers of letters,
while last names were both too lengthy to consider. I ended up with three usable poems.
Worthy Grand Matron's card:
Behold, the light of the Eastern Star
Everywhere shines around and along,
To the North and South and West.
Then chime the bells and ring the gong!
Yea, this year shall be the best!
Cover of Grand Organist's card:
Organists are in the know
Right and left, they know each part
In the ear and in the heart
Slow tempo to allegro.
Inside of Grand Organist's card:
Delightful are the sounds that come from
Organ and piano.
Righteous are the hymns we sing
In alto and soprano.
Sister, we do honor thee,
Star organist, supremo.
Owen was born as Owen K. Laurion June 3, 1950 in Vancouver, Washington.
He became a Mason in Albuquerque, New Mexico at age 41 (Temple Lodge #6, e.:10/10/91,p.:11/21/91,r.:12/19/91), and currently lives in Santa Fe, NM, where he is a member of Cerrillos Lodge #19. At this writing, he is a member of the both the Scottish rite (May 2-4, 1997) and York Rite (Oct.12-13, 2001), Philalethes Society, Phylaxis Society (PH), Scottish Rite Research Society, Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle, Masonic Poets Society, The Masonic Society, and Resarch Lodges of New Mexico, So.California, and Missouri. Besides these several research lodges and numerous online forums, he is also active in Lions International. He declined taking any lodge offices because he is nearly deaf, but before his hearing became too bad, he was also active in Toastmasters, in local theater groups as both actor and director, and was a professional storyteller. It was because his name was so consistently either misspelled on programs or mispronounced in introductions that he decided to change the spelling to a more phonetic version. Under his handle of Loki, Owen is also a cruciverbalist, composing Cryptic crossword puzzles. For much of his life, he was an avid science fiction fan, publishing and editing fanzines and serving as president of clubs ranging from local Star Trek to the National Fantasy Fan Federation.
Owen has two grown daughters from his first marriage, and several grandchildren. His current wife, Brenda Watson, introduced him to Masonry. She is active in Eastern Star and Rainbow Girls, and past member of Jobs Daughters and Amaranth. Brenda has published some poetry of her own, though of a very Feminist bent.
Since retiring due to disability from a profession he detested, Owen has kept himself busy with his web comic strip, Money Talks, which he posts daily; and Square And Compasses, a comic strip for Freemasons only; and various other writing. If you'd like to subscribe to Owen's Poetry Circle, where he passes on other poems of both his and his wife's, send a blank e-mail to email@example.com — he writes a lot about cats and other subjects as well as Masonry. He also
welcomes craves personal comments on his poems at OwenKL@anti-spam@NMMasons.org.