Table of Contents

Douglas Malloch
  1. The Road of Masonry
  2. Father's Lodge
  3. Echoes
  4. Always A Mason
  5. The Little Lodge Of Long Ago
  6. Building
  7. The Masonry Of Spring
  8. Make Me Mellow
  9. Christmas
  10. Members Or Masons
  11. It's Fine Today
  12. Be The Best Of Whatever You Are

  13. A Biography of Douglas Malloch

The Road Of Masonry

Men build a road of Masonry
Across the hills and dales,
Unite the prairie and the sea,
The mountains and the vales,
They cross the chasm, bridge the stream,
They point to where the turrets gleam,
And many men for many a day
Who seek the heights shall find the way.

Men build a road of Masonry,
But not for self they build:
With footsteps of humanity
The hearts of men are thrilled.
This music makes their labor sweet:
The endless tramp of other feet,
The thought that men shall travel thus
An easier road because of us.

We build the road of Masonry
With other men in mind;
We do not build for you and me,
We build for all mankind.
We build a road! - remember, men,
Build not for Now, but build for Then,
And other men who walk the way
Shall find the road we built today.

Who builds the road of Masonry,
Though small or great his part,
However hard the task may be,
May toil with singing heart.
For it is something, after all,
When muscles tire and shadows fall,
To know that other men shall bless
The builder for his faithfulness.

Father's Lodge

Father's lodge, I well remember,
wasn't large as lodges go,
There was trouble in December
getting to it through the snow.
But he seldom missed a meeting;
drifts or blossoms in the lane,
Still the Tyler heard his greeting,
winter ice or summer rain.

Father's lodge thought nothing of it:
mid their labors and their cares
Those old Masons learned to love it,
that fraternity of theirs.
What's a bit of stormy weather,
when a little down the road,
Men are gathering together,
helping bear each other's load?

Father's lodge had made a village:
men of father's sturdy brawn
Turned a wilderness to tillage,
seized the flag, and carried on,
Made a village, built a city,
shaped a country, formed a state,
Simple men, not wise nor witty —
humble men, and yet how great!

Father's lodge had caught the gleaming
of the great Masonic past;
Thinking, toiling, daring, dreaming,
they were builders to the last.
Quiet men, not rich nor clever,
with the tools they found at hand
Building for the great forever,
first a village then a land.

Father's lodge no temple builded,
shaped of steel and carved of stone;
Marble columns, ceilings guilded,
father's lodge has never known.
But a heritage of glory
they have left, the humble ones —
They have left their mighty story
in the keeping of their sons.


Fine men have walked this way before,
Whatever Lodge your Lodge may be;
Whoever stands before the door,
The sacred arch of Masonry,
Stands where the wise, the great, the good,
In their own time and place have stood.

You are not Brother just with these,
Your friends and neighbors; you are kin
With Masons down the centuries;
This room that now you enter in
Has felt the tread of many feet,
For here all Masonry you meet.

You walk the path the great have trod,
The great in heart, the great in mind,
Who looked through Masonry to God,
And looked through God to all mankind
Learned more than word or sign or grip,
Learned Man's and God's relationship.

To him who sees, who understands,
How mighty Masonry appears!
A Brotherhood of many lands,
A fellowship of many years,
A Brotherhood so great, so vast,
Of all the Craft of all the past.

And so I say a sacred trust
Is yours to share, is yours to keep;
I hear the voice of men of dust,
I hear the step of men asleep;
And down the endless future, too,
Your own shall echo after you.

Always A Mason

Let no king quite put off his crown!
I still would have him kingly when
In some old inn the king sat down
To banquet with his serving-men.
I love a mild and merry priest,
Whom Brothers toast, and neighbors prod;
Yet would I have him, at the feast,
A little of the man of God.

So with a Mason: I would see
Him somewhat of a Mason still,
Though far from Lodge-rooms he may be,
In court, or counting-house, or mill.
Whatever garment he may doff,
What mark Masonic lay aside,
I would not have him quite put off
The Craft he lately glorified.

A soldier is a soldier, though
He lays the sword aside awhile.
The time, the place, I do not know
Man may not serve, or may not smile.
I know no moment anywhere,
Whatever place the place may be,
A Mason may not always wear
A little of his Masonry.

The Little Lodge Of Long Ago

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 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 upon a shelf:
They have a splendor that will touch
A Lodge that isn't very much.

It isn't very much — and yet
This made it great: there Masons 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.


Brick by brick the Masons builded
Till the highest cross was gilded
With the glory of the sun,
Till the noble task was done.
Step by step and one by one
Wall and rafter, roof and spire
Men were lifting ever higher,
Not in some mysterious way —
With the tasks of every day.

Architects may do their dreaming,
See their visioned turrets gleaming
High above them in the skies;
Yet the wisdom of the wise
Cannot make one roof arise —
Hearts must sing and hands must labor,
Man must work beside his neighbor,
Brick on brick and toil on toil
Building upward from the soil.

So we build a lodge or nation,
On the firmly fixed foundation
Of a flag or craft or creed;
But on top of that we need
Many a noble thought and deed,
Day by day and all the seven,
Building slowly up to heaven,
Till our lives the lives shall seem
Of the Master Builder's dream.

The Masonry Of Spring

Men say, "How wonderful is Spring!"
I say, "How marvelous is man!"
For Spring no more can gladness bring
To earth than men to mortals can.
The Springtime sun is very good,
But, oh, the smile of brotherhood!
And green the grass upon the slope,
But lovelier some word of hope.

There is a Masonry of earth,
Of sun and blossom, seed and rain;
The only Masonry of worth
Is one that brings the Spring again,
Brings strength to brothers sore beset,
And faith to brothers who forget;
Like sun to blossom, rain to seed,
Are men who come to men in need.

A great fraternity is ours
Who really see and understand,
A brotherhood of hearts and flow'rs
And smiling sun and stretching hand.
We, too, may bloom in our own way,
Make glad some other mortal's day,
As much as any birds that sing
In God's great Masonry of Spring!

Not a Masonic poem, but an interesting contrast to the one above.

Make Me Mellow

Some would have Spring within the heart,
But I, some mellow month in mine
Like old October: flowers depart,
And even youth must resign —
But always, brothers, there are some
To whom no Winters ever come:
Always October skies are theirs,
Even amid life's wintry cares.

And I would have my soul look the same:
I cannot keep the look of youth,
But how October maples flame —
Age takes our beauty, gives us truth,
Age takes our wit, and makes us wise,
Age gives us life's October skies
And old October's mellower days,
A better time a thousand ways.

God make me mellow! Make me not
Sudden as Summer, brief as Spring.
I would not blow too cold, too hot,
I would keep kind through ev'rything.
I may give others less than flow'rs
Of flattery, but in their hours
Of grief, of trouble and of need
May I bring rather fruits to feed.


We'll twine some holly on the chandelier,
We'll hang a "Merry Christmas!" on the wall;
Remember, brothers, Christmas time is near,
Go get some tissue, decorate the hall.
But, oh, my brothers, let that not be all! —
Twine something more than holly-berries here,
Yes, Christ as well as Christmas time recall
In all our cheer.

Twine something more than holly, — twine an arm
Around an erring brother, 'round the weak.
Not all the berries from the field or farm
So well of Christ and Christmas time will speak.
Fare forth beyond the Lodge-room — let us seek
Some sadness out, and with the magic charm
Of Christmas drive the tear-drop from the cheek,
From hearts alarm.

Around the world the songs of Christmas roll.
O Christ, men feel Your hand within their own.
What, after all, the great Masonic goal,
Of all the brotherhoods that earth has known?
Not only wealth, not only walls of stone,
But lives made glad, and human hearts made whole,
Men hand-in-hand, and Christ upon His throne,
His throne the Soul.

Members Or Masons

Oh, his hair was a white as the snow that we tread,
With a little black cap on the back of his head,
And he trembled a bit, but I saw in his eyes
Both the gaze of a friend and the look of the wise.
Ere they opened the Lodge we just happened to chat:
"I'm not knocking," he said, "don't accuse me of that,
But I tell you, my son, if there's anything wrong
With the Craft any place, anywhere you belong,
In a Lodge that is lacking or lagging behind,
More members than Masons you always will find.

"When a fellow gets old, say a fellow like me,
He may think that the past is all right, I agree,
And the present all wrong; and yet, nevertheless,
We have seen more of men than you youngsters, I guess;
And, if in a Lodge, be it large, be it small,
There's a lack of that heart that's the heart of it all,
And a lack of the head that is bowed at the thought
Of the Craft that it is and the work it has wrought,
Then, I say, in that Lodge, lacking heart, lacking mind,
More members than Masons is what you will find.

"For it isn't enough that we mumble a word,
No, it isn't enough that our voice shall be heard,
But our acts must be seen — yes, in word and in act,
Be a Mason in name and a Mason in fact!
Sixty years I have walked in the face of the storm,
And it kept my head up and it kept my heart warm;
And the need of us now, like the need of us then,
Is not members but Masons, not members but Men!
Let us leaven the lump till at last you will find
All members, all Masons, in heart and in mind."

Although not a Masonic poem, the following inspirational poem is one of Douglas Malloch's most popular pieces.

It's Fine Today

Sure, this world is full of trouble
I ain't said it ain't.
Lord, I've had enough and double
Reason for complaint;
Rain and storm have come to fret me,
Skies are often gray;
Thorns and brambles have beset me
On the road — but say,
Ain't it fine today?

What's the use of always weepin',
Making trouble last?
What's the use of always keepin'
Thinkin' of the past?
Each must have his tribulation —
Water with his wine;
Life, it ain't no celebration,
Trouble? — I've had mine —
But today is fine!

It's today that I am livin',
Not a month ago.
Havin'; losin'; takin'; givin';
As time wills it so.
Yesterday a cloud of sorrow
Fell across the way,
It may rain again tomorrow,
It may rain — but say,
Ain't it fine today?

Again not specifically Masonic, the following inspirational poem is another one of Douglas Malloch's most famous poems, and is often accompanied by the leading quotation.

"We all dream of great deeds and high positions, away from the pettiness and humdrum of ordinary life. Yet success is not occupying a lofty place or doing conspicuous work; it is being the best that is in you. Rattling around in too big a job is worse than filling a small one to overflowing. Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe dreams of the one you would like to lead. Make the most of what you have and are. Perhaps your trivial, immediate task is your one sure way of proving your mettle. Do the thing near at hand, and great things will come to your hand to be done."

Be the Best of Whatever You Are

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!

Douglas Malloch (1877 - 1938)

This thumbnail biography is based on multiple sources, particularly the Edgar Rice Burroughs Library, since he wrote lumberjack stories for the ERB adventure magazine. A longer bio written in 1913 with more non-Masonic poems is available in .pdf format right here on our site.

Brother Malloch was an American poet, short story writer, and associate editor of American Lumberman magazine. He was very popular on the lecture circuit doing public readings of his stories and poems. Malloch's name became a familiar one at the dawn of the 20th century to many thousands of men who ranged the forests and felled the trees. As reviewers wrote, "Malloch’s philosophy is the philosophy of contentment." "He sings of the open, of hard work, of exposure, of rough living and rough loving. It is verse which belongs to the strong-armed school; a healthy antidote to the softening tendencies which creep in with an age that loves luxury too well."

He is noted for writing The Round River Drive, which was only the second appearance in print of Paul Bunyan. Besides poetry of the woods, he was commissioned to write a Michigan State Song. His second wife, Helen Miller Malloch, was a newswoman who gained fame in her own right as founder of the National Association of Presswomen.

Some memorable Malloch quotes:

"The biggest liar in the world is They say."

"Courage is to feel the daily daggers of relentless steel and keep on living."

"Men look to the East for the dawning things,
For the light of a raising sun;
But they look to the West, to the crimson West,
For the things that are done, are done."
from "East And West".


Malloch's books include:
"In Forest Land", 1906
"The Woods", 1913
"Tote-Road and Trail: Ballads of the Lumberjack", 1917
"Someone To Care", 1925
"The Heart Content", 1927
"Live Life Today", 1938
(this list may be incomplete)