Table of Contents

L. B. Mitchell
  1. The Center Of The Lodge
  2. Further Light In Masonry
  3. How Beautiful
  4. The Ascending Scale (as L. B. M.)
  5. The Fount Of Youth (as L. B. M.)
  6. Privilege
  7. Let Me Live In The Hearts Of Men
  8. O Mystic Art (as L. B. M.)
  9. Geometry An Acrostic (as L. B. M.)
  10. The Boston Tea Party
  11. The Level And The Square
  12. Ready To Be Tried Again
  13. The Triangle Of The World
  14. The Approaches To The Heart
  15. Finding Ourselves (as L. B. M.)
  16. Rest
  17. The Trestle Board Design
  18. Godness (as L. B. M.)
  19. Getting By
  20. The Grace Of Tolerance
  21. The Wideness In The Temple
  22. Masonry In General
  23. Sweet Masonry
  24. The Stepping Stone
  25. Masonry's Objective
  26. Beauty From Ashes Here
  27. The Coin Of God
  28. The Masonic Trinities
  29. Partners Here (as L. B. M.)
  30. The Temperature Of The Lodge
  31. The Cradle And The Charge
  32. If The Craft Shall Believe In Me
  33. Square With The World
  34. The Priceless
  35. When the Sun Runs Low
  36. Masonry's Right Of Way
  37. Nature's Best Both Then And Now
  38. Nature's Open Book
  39. If God Is Love

  40. To The Poet: An Appreciation by H.L. Haywood
    Vital Records and Obituary for L.B. Mitchell


The Center Of The Lodge

from The Builder, May 1915

The East, the West, the South, the North
In our Temple's oblong square
Are ofttimes mentioned for their worth,
In their symbolism rare.

Not so the center. When 'tis passed
By the initiate on his way
It seems so soon to be outclassed
In the grand old mystic play.

As I recall impressions rare
While I saw not the light,
While sweet surprises met me where
I least surmised they might.

While mental thrills came thick and fast
As my conductor led,
The sweetest things of all the past
Seemed in the center said.

And O the prayer that there was given,
In pleadings all for me!
Was this appeal to highest heaven
The prayer of Masonry?

And the meaning of that soulful plea
Is all the mind can span;
For it contained all that can be
For the best there is in man.

And I was asked in whom I placed
My soul's eternal trust,
My answer any doubt effaced
That I'd be true and just.

And friendship's token to me there
Was given, and words of cheer;
For I knew not the way, nor where
New dangers might appear.

And so, as I recall the past
The place, the prayer, the cheer
There will remain while life shall last
The memories so dear,
Of that sweet center which I know
Makes all that comes more bright,
As ever on and on I go
To realms of further light.

Further Light In Masonry

from The Builder, Aug. 1915

As I look down the misty past
Through its vistas dim and weird and vast,
Through the centuries of life and joy
And the monuments of its employ,
My craving centers in the plea
For "further light in Masonry."

The stones were from the quarries raised,
And paths through mighty forests blazed.
The throbbing heart of labor then
Was in the patient days of men.
But much is vague, and hence my plea
For "further light in Masonry."

And as the craftsman learned the arts
Of the operative in all its parts,
And traveled to foreign lands away
To wages earn and skill display,
My heart goes with them in the plea
For "further light in Masonry."

And as those builders, great in heart
And in the world's then foremost art
Sought in themselves the nobler things
That brotherhood unfailing brings,
I catch their spirit in my plea
For "further light in Masonry."

And O, what minds conceived the plan
Of working out the art for man
From the symbols to the lessons taught
That have so long such blessings brought!
My wonder accentuates the plea
For "further light in Masonry."

And through it all their work so rare
Was guarded with such tender care
That centuries of dire unrest
Left all their landmarks at their best.
All this gives interest to my plea
For "further light in Masonry."

Than this, there is no richer field.
The quest, the rarest treasures yield.
And the rewards? O brother mine,
They may not all be known in time.
Let life be one insistent plea
For "further light in Masonry."

How Beautiful

from The Builder, Sept. 1915

How beautiful the thought that men
From the tools of their employ
Could make them teach the grander things
That gave them highest joy,
That gave the substance of all good,
That made life's duties plain,
That gave the world a brotherhood
And forged its golden chain.

How beautiful, as we turn back
The written scroll of time
To find that need made common cause
For things the most sublime,
The things that lighten every load,
That bring to life a joy
Unknown save where these "working tools"
Gave men their chief employ.

How beautiful to know that while
Religions cannot save
Nor creeds, nor yet beliefs, nor all
That may the soul enslave,
That men, in guilds, most practical
And to each other true
Have set the pace for all the world
What it should be and do.

How beautiful, in this our day
When the operative is past,
That there remains with us the gold
Their labors have amassed,
The priceless wealth of toilers true
Merged in a brotherhood
That emulated through the years
Will mean man's greatest good.

The Ascending Scale

from The Builder, Sept. 1915 (as L. B. M.)

Symbolically toward the skies
The Masonic temple rises,
And we patronize its courts to prize
And win still more its prizes.

The Fount Of Youth

from The Builder, Sept. 1915 (as L. B. M.)

Brother, you will never, never be
Nearer the fount of perpetual youth
Than you are right here in Masonry,
Brotherly love, relief and truth.

Privilege

from The Builder, Dec. 1915

There's no such thing as duty
When motive prompts the act.
'Tis privilege, maid of beauty,
Made so by love's sweet tact.

There's no such thing as duty
Of soul unto its God,
For privilege, maid of beauty
Goes where love first has trod.

There's no such thing as duty
In the race the heart is in.
But privilege, maid of beauty
With love's fleet wings, will win.

There's no such thing as duty,
'Tis but an empty name.
But privilege, maid of beauty
Is slave to love's sweet game.

There's no such thing as duty,
And there can never be
While privilege, maid of beauty
Is love's sweet alchemy.

The thing the world calls duty
Can no true Mason make,
For privilege, maid of beauty
Does it for love's sweet sake.

Let Me Live In The Hearts Of Men

from The Builder, Dec. 1915

There are selfish souls who by themselves
Live ever themselves within.
There are those who stay in their pleasure haunts
From the best things of life shut in.
And there are souls who are slaves to gain
And paying the price of the loan,
But let me live in the hearts of men
And never without a home.

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men,
The shelter I cannot buy,
The home that is real and of priceless worth
And that God makes his ratings by.
My shelter may be within plainest walls
Or 'neath a glittering dome,
But let me live in the hearts of men
The only home that's home.

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men
For I am as human as they,
And because I am proud to stand side by side
With them in the strenuous way.
It may be that my treasures may take to wings
And naught left but myself that I own,
So let me live in the hearts of men,
And that makes the world a home.

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men
Though the circle be ever so small.
It may be 'tis the littles that will make me great
With the few who may quite know it all.
'Tis a tonic to jostle with the crowd to and fro
Or trudge to the shut-in alone,
So let me live in the hearts of men
And always "at home" at home.

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men,
Elsewhere would be just "marking time."
The life that is real is the life with my own
And the plan that's forever Divine.
'Tis the true home instinct of "home, sweet home"
Earth's only protecting dome,
So let me live in the hearts of men.
At home on the journey home.

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men
Though the token may not always be there,
But 'tis never withheld by the brother of mine
On whose breast gleams the compass and square.
Unmeasured the joy is this living that's real,
Unmeasured the wealth that I own.
'Tis a balm and a cure for the ills of the soul,
The home in the home that is home.

O Mystic Art

from The Builder, Feb. 1916 (as L. B. M.)

O mystic art, come to my heart,
Come, whisper sweet to me;
Come very near, to me make clear
The art of Masonry.

O mystic art, I crave a part,
Some little gift from thee;
Let it be mine, of rare design
Because 'tis Masonry.

O mystic art, somehow impart
The secret rare to me;
To thee I turn, of thee I'd learn,
My teacher, Masonry.

O mystic art, hast thou no part
Thou can'st reveal to me?
Must I pass on without the song
That rings to Masonry?

O mystic art, must mine own heart
Make answer to my plea?
If so I plead for what I need
For apprehending thee.

Acrostic: Geometry

from The Builder, March 1916 (as L. B. M.)

Grander than the lines that Pythagoras drew,
Engraved on the hearts that ever are true,
Onward and beyond the science it ran,
Masonry, the nature religion of man.
Enter thy temple, sweet spirit, and there
Try us by compasses, level and square.
Rightly interpreting our mystical art
You can speculate on with happy heart.


The Boston Tea Party

Dec. 18-19, 1773

from The Builder, Jan. 1917

In seventeen hundred seventy three
Three ships left Albion's docks with tea.

They little dreamed of what destiny planned
As they sailed away to the western land,
For to Boston harbor they were bound
Where the proud old world got turned around.

Now the Colonist loved his tea to sip,
'Twas the stamp thereon made him "bite his lip."

And he vowed that there would trouble be
If the King sent on the stamp taxed tea.

So the local Masonic Lodge, you see,
Planned to have a "party" when came the tea.

And the secret they kept till it came in,
Now soon the festivities would begin.

The communication to order came
And outlined the details of the "game."

The Junior Warden from labor, then
Called to refreshments the waiting men.

And soon they went out as Indians red,
And the chief, the Junior Warden, led.

And the whoops that rang in the streets that night
Were the signals that started the Colonies right.

And on and on to the wharf they flew,
And no sentry or watchman their errand knew.

Their torches flared that December night,
And their hatchets gleamed in the sombre light.

And they brushed the sailors aghast aside
And consigned the tea to the ocean's tide.

And as o'er the railings the chests were flung
They were smashed with the hatchets deftly swung.

And those "reds" ceased not till the cargoes three
Were "brewing" away in the salted sea.

And back to the Lodge they swiftly sped
As Revere, the Junior Warden, led.

And some things were said that had the ring
Of eternal defiance to the King!

"No tax, not agreed, will we ever pay
On the goods of the realm sent to Boston Bay!"

And the Lodge was closed in its due form
As the gray in the east foretold the morn.
* * *
So it was that this way of "serving the tea"
Set the fires that made the Colonies free.

And from this time on till victory came
The Masonic Colonist was "in the game."

And the Nation should ever its tribute pay
To the "party" that night in Boston Bay.

The Level And The Square

An Ode to an Ode

from The Builder, Feb. 1917

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,
What words of precious meaning those words Masonic are,"
And they still are ringing, ringing as the Craft today doth know
As they did when Morris sang them more than fifty years ago.

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,"
Did the Bard who caught the meaning and who flung it out so fair,
Did the vision of the REAL that the years so soon should see
Give the Poet the perspective of what IS and is to be ?

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,"
In its true symbolic meaning was unfolded with such care,
That it carried with its rhythm and its setting into song
The true spirit that will ever to the Mystic Art belong.

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square "
With the Plumb in the triangle 'mong the symbols gleaming there,
All their meanings were embellished for the Craft for coming time
Through the Art and through the Poet of the Art that is sublime.

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square"
Carries with it the momentum that the Bard transcribed so fair,
Carries with it, upright ever by the true, unerring Plumb
All that lies in mortal vision of the Masonry to come.

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square"
In its meaning has been finding hearts responsive everywhere;
It has met a nature longing in the hungry human heart
Undiscovered till 'twas written into real Masonic Art.

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,"
On the Level as it finds us; on the Square as we repair
To our stations in the Temple, to our stations in the world
Upright in the light of heaven flashing in the gems impearled.

"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square"
Is the answer of the ages to its longing and its prayer.
The solution of the problem of the world's unrest today
Must be solved by this same token for there is no other way.

Let us then be forging, forging stronger still the Mystic chain,
For the glory of the meeting and the work that doth remain.
In the spirit of the Poet let us do our work with care
"As we meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square."


Ready To Be Tried Again

from The Builder, Oct. 1918

'Tis no matter how much work we have done ere dawned today
'Tis no matter how we've striven on an upward, onward way;
There are duties ever new falling due each day to men,
And the one who does them best waits but to be tried again.

Though we have been tried as came duties new upon the way,
Though the storm obscured the sun that was bright as dawned the day;
Though the yesterdays are past 'tis no matter what they've been,
'Tis today that we must be ready to be tried again.

There's no wage can come to us only as our work is done,
There's no premium to life save as are its triumphs won;
Recompense comes with the toil e'en as we the task begin,
E'en as we report to self, ready to be tried again.

And as Masons we are taught that while we've been often tried
We are never by the Craft of the privilege denied
Of the trying for the work that it makes so clear and plain,
And for which we all should be ready to be tried again.

And the fact that we're in wait may unlock the mystic door
To the findings in the Art that may prove a golden store;
'Tis an inspiration e'en if there's not a moment when
We're not in the firing line, ready to be tried again.

And by trial comes the glow of a brighter, keener joy
That real something that we know in the mystic Arts employ;
'Tis the thought unfolding to the ideal it gives to men
That the trial is in being ready to be tried again.

And the thought is larger still, 'tis a trial now and here
For and in and as the task as each day's new claims appear,
Trial measured by the Truth as it may respond amen
As we ever do and dare, ready to be tried again.

The Triangle Of The World

from The Builder, Oct. 1918

MASONRY the thread of finest, purest gold
That is woven from the loom of ages old
Has lived to see its principles unfold.

FRATERNITY the Truth worked out in man,
The only thing that has or ever can
Bring to him peace, and wars forever ban.

DEMOCRACY with love upon its throne
The fruitage of the seed that has been sown
Will make the world a sweeter, better home.

The Approaches To The Heart

from The Builder, Dec. 1918

Do you crave an inspiration straight from nature's very heart,
Beating true to the creation of which you're a conscious part?
Would you, somehow, in your longing, form a kinship to the earth
That might make its elementals of a sweeter, richer worth
That might make all things in nature to your soul a means of grace,
Wooing with the charm forever of her omnipresent grace?
Then unto her soulful readings, blended with Masonic Art
Open wide all the approaches to the portals of the heart.

Finding Ourselves

from The Builder, Jan. 1919 (as L. B. M.)

Life is an offering, that is all
And the ultimate glory of its call
Is that 'tis hardly worth a tear
Save as 'tis given, freely, here
Save as from it we pour and pour
As the alchemist provides the more
Save as on the "waters cast"
The "bread" that will return at last
Save as we give it all away
To find ourselves, some day some day.

The two printings of this poem were identical

Rest

from The Builder, Jan. & March 1919

When your weary feet shall have reached at last their toilsome journey's end
It will be to you the priceless gift of your best and truest friend,
'Twill be nature's way to speak to you the word that sounds the best
When she kisses you her fond good-bye and sweetly whispers, Rest.

The Trestle Board Design

from The Builder, Feb. 1919

What's the design, my brother, pray?
Upon the Trestle Board today?
Your Temple building has begun
And each day's work from sun to sun
Should show in its design the plan
That means the building of a man,
The building that interprets fine
The ideal Trestle Board design.

The Temple building you essay
Should grow in beauty by the way
E'en though it be a rugged road
And yours to bear a heavy load.
But whereso'er the way may lead
Or whatso'er may be your need,
The heart must everything refine
That's in the Trestle Board design.

And while there's none can build for you
It compensatingly is true
That none can your soul work destroy
Or take from it its keener joy.
And if its plan be bold and clear
As in the light it may appear,
Yet others may the soul divine
That's in your Trestle Board design.

And in the Temple building plan
That Masonry unfolds to man
The Truth, as it is understood,
Real Service and true Brotherhood,
With Character is what supplies
The best that is beneath the skies.
And this will serve you to refine
The better Trestle Board design.

And there is in the mystic Art
So much that centers in the heart,
So much that leads your loves away
To social cheer and rest and play
And yet, that traces in its plan
The larger way to build a man,
That helps you so much to refine
Your special Trestle Board Design.

And now my brother, tell me, pray,
What is your thought of Masonry
As helping you to find the best
And leaving to your heart the rest
While ever pleading that you be
From every moral blemish free?
O, what can hold more that's sublime
Than this, your Trestle Board design?

Godness

from The Builder, June 1919 (as L. B. M.)

There is Godness in the flower,
In the tempest, in the breeze,
In the sweet refreshing shower,
In the lightning, in the seas.

There is Godness in all matter,
Worlds by it their courses go,
'Tis the life, the force of nature
That its product cannot know.

The final verse of this poem was mangled, probably by the automated scanning. A guess has been made as to what it may have said, but if anyone with access to a hard copy of The Builder can correct it, it would be much appreciated.
okl.

Getting By

from The Builder, June 1919

He's a great big, willing Brother with a heart like to the ox,
He would put big things across but here comes the paradox
For he finds himself at ease, something holds him on the sly,
There's a landmark in the way that he can't. get. by.

And the Craft at large is bound, there's an unseen cable tow
That is binding to the past, though the urge would prompt to go;
There's too oft a lingering round, when they would in progress vie,
Some old weird, landmarky thing that they can't. get. by.

But to make this old world over, barr'ers must be burned away,
Masonry must melted before the new world order day;
It is coming, almost here, and its spirit must defy
Every old opposing thing that it can't. get. by.

The Grace Of Tolerance

from The Builder, July 1919

Tolerance is the grace, among those classed sublime
That gives to all beliefs their right to be Divine;
It is the key that swings the doors of progress wide,
It stands at every turn where creeds, as such, divide.

The religions of the world must its true meaning know
Ere to a progress real they can credentials show.
All men of all of them must equal be to each
And by its spirit live and practice what they preach.

'Tis true that tolerance as the essential grace
Must be lived out to win the try-outs of the race;
All what faith may imply, all pleadings of the soul
Will never find the way unto the glory goal.

We've got to be "converted," made over to the new
And this, to men of creeds will seem the strangest to;
Though they stake all on them, though they square to their plan,
No mere belief in them has ever made a man.

And he may be a man who clearly shuns them all
And full salvation finds in nature's way and call.
'Tis character that stamps upon the soul its worth
And this gives tolerance its right to rule the earth.

And till its sway shall come, the peace beyond compare
Will never come to earth, though fervent be its prayer.
There's naught save its rare grace can smoothe its wrinkles out
And make the going fine upon its upward route.

And all this being true, there is no way or plan
Among the ways and means that have been tried by man
To make the world ideal than is the mystic Art
That truly brothers all if clean of soul and heart.

The Wideness In The Temple

from The Builder, July 1919

There's a wideness in the Temple like the wideness of the sun
Where the things that hearts are craving may be sought, and found, and won;
Based upon earth's limitations, rising to the very skies
There is ample room within it for the normal heart supplies.
We may be ourselves therein, yet upon the Level meet
In a rest-room where the spirit finds a heart to heart retreat.

And it seems to me as time shall exact its tolls of men
That 'twill be the mystic chamber where the heart can say amen
To the things that it incloses as so needful for release
From the "wear and tear" of life to its doors enclosing peace.
It has been this in the past, but it may be that its Art
May be needed more and more as the "clearing house" of heart.

And what'er be its relation to economies of earth
There must be no narrowing of its sphere of soulful worth.
It is grand that to the temper of a jostling human race
There can be its home refinement and its moral, gentle grace
Where its own may in the vieing for the noblest and the best
Glorify their hours within by a true refining test.

There's a wideness in the Temple like the wideness of the need
Of the hearts who may therein for its benedictions plead.
They may come from every station, from the world's work and its care
For its trusted, true evangel "carries on" as they should fare,
O, the Temple in its wideness has not yet its measure found,
But we know it rises high, and we know 'tis on the ground.

Masonry In General

from The Builder, Sept. 1919

Masonry, in general, is qualified in size,
It builds its Temples round the world where glow the kindly skies;
Where governments set boundaries, therein the Craftsman go
And rear the mystic canopies that shelter those who "know."

Masonry, in general, is qualified in kind
As something that is leading to and helping men to find
The Brother way that "carries on" to others yet the cheer
Who, by free will may in due form within its courts appear.

Masonry, in general, is qualified in soul,
Its spirit, all the world around pleads for a common goal,
The time when nothing can divide save that which stains the heart,
When men can find each one his way, but all, within its Art.

Masonry, in general, is qualified in grace,
'Twould give to those who would be true their ever rightful place;
It would be tolerant to all upon the moral plane
That looks beyond and on and on, to greater heights attain.

Masonry, in general, is qualified in heart,
It holds within its throb the key that opens to its Art,
'Tis qualified in every way, and that is saying trite
What otherwise somehow is hard to put in "black and white."

Sweet Masonry

from The Builder, Sept. 1919

Sweet Masonry, earth's precious best to your own heart and mine,
The trysting place of happy cheer, the sacred mystic shrine
Where we may on the Level meet and close the door to care
And just forget for one sweet while all else save heart repair.

Sweet Masonry, a world its own where flowers ever bloom,
Perennials through storm and shine for every day of gloom.
Its orbit swings around the Light in such peculiar way
That there is naught but fragrance in the dawning of its day.

Sweet Masonry, built into form by altruistic Art
It is a Temple gracious to the pleadings of the heart;
The Middle Chamber of its soul clean-swept and garnished glows
And in its light no hurtful thing may dare to seek repose.

Sweet Masonry, just Masonry, the undiluted kind,
Unknown as ventures of the world, is what we love to find,
And pray that ne'er to it may come, though spacious be the plea
That which at last may break the heart of true Fraternity.

The Stepping Stone

from The Builder, Nov. 1919

There was built for man a home
and to it a stepping stone
By the nature forces true in the work, below, above;
For in coming he would know
every human joy and woe,
So the stepping stone was made of the pearl of human love.

'Twas the granite tried and proved
as the mighty forces moved
To the time and fire test that in ages was to come,
It was nature in her plan
ending in a world for man
That should mean, as such to him, all that makes a home a home.

For this consciousness the world
was with beauty rare impearled,
For its every real need there was rich provision made;
But with all its golden store
it were mockery the more,
Worthless as such if not on love's redeeming altar laid.

And the anchorage that holds
all that consciousness extols,
Is the power that moves the world in its sway by human love;
Without it the race would be
without e'en a mystery;
Not a flower would bloom to it and no star glint from above.

And because this stepping stone
to all that makes earth a home
Is the royal way to all that with it to man is given,
There could be no other plan,
for the attributes of man
Would be worthless save as love qualifies for home and heaven.

Masonry's Objective

from The Builder, Nov. 1919

Masonry, to be its best in the "better by and by"
When the "safety first" of men is the peace that's to endure,
Must have its one real objective to a point beneath the sky
It must all its millions use for a purpose: noble, pure;
It must wield its splendid strength for the highest concept known,
It must keep its heart of hearts on the altar all its own.

But we find the wide world o'er that for common needs of men
Institutions ever rise as the servants of the race
And that more and more is dreamed of the time a-coming when
Each may have his right in right, each his wage in every place.
But all these should have their care, they are mainly things that lie
Where the practical begins in the world's economy.

So the mystic Art of ours seems to stand out quite alone
Clear of every interest where mere policies are met
On a plane where those of heart are distinctively its own
Where the limit for the race in its upper trend is set.
So whate'er may come to this ever troubled world again
Masonry's objective still must be that of making men.

This has been its one objective with relief, which goes with heart
And its lessons to the Craft prompt to Love and Sacrifice,
Fundamental things that go to make it the gracious Art
Reaching to the things supreme by which man may win the prize.
Then let Masonry make men for the callings of the earth,
'Tis the highest world objective, giving to all others, worth.

Beauty From Ashes Here

from The Builder, March 1920

Beauty from ashes, if so be the soul
Is forging on towards its glory goal,
For it must first within the life repose
Though ashes lie upon its trail of woes,
The heart may pluck its flowers by the way
E'en though the green of years be turned to gray.
It is for it, though skies but slowly clear
To qualify e'en through the ashes here.

For all it is and has must now appear
Though hopes deferred may start the flowing tear,
It is for it to brave each searching test
For it may be that it was for the best.
O, it may 'mong the ashes scattered round
Rich harvests find upon life's sacred ground!
The way may hold so much to bless and cheer
That beauty rare may spring from ashes here.

So while upon the pathway that we tread
The ashes lie, 'tis there our hopes are spread
The fairest flowers may bloom for us today
Because they grew in sorrow's yesterday.
From ashes there may new creations spring,
The price is paid for each new offering
May strew the path whereon we forward go
With all the best that mortals here may know.

There were a few words changed between the two versions, nothing substantial, so we use the later version here.
okl.

The Coin Of God

from The Builder, March 1920 & May 1920

Not mere existence counts for worth,
We came, we're here as parts of earth,
As parts of its all-nature plan.
We live and think and pose as man;
But higher values there must be
Above just mere nativity.

And if there's value we must pay
The price beyond the right to stay,
The price above the normal need
Or privilege that we may plead,
The price that pays for something worth
More than can be derived from earth.

We must meet values in the things
Beyond what mere existence brings;
Our entries on the balance sheet
Must for the higher realm be meet,
And if thereon are credits made
'Twill show that we in kind, have paid.

And just as we invest in gold,
The soulful things of worth untold,
Just as we pay the price of life
Above its elemental strife,
Just so much then will worth appear,
The coin of God, so precious here.

The Masonic Trinities

from The Builder, June 1920

Brotherly Love, the fundamental grace
By which man finds his true and rightful place;
We cannot know how much its meaning holds
For life with it, to all that's best, unfolds.

Relief, the deed responsive to the sway
Of Love that loves in sacrificial way,
And thereby finds that life's a golden mine
With dividends that truly are sublime.

And Truth, the find of right relation to,
Like sun and sight, reveals unto the view
The right of things in bold finality
And then responds with its "so mote it be."

* * * * * *

Friendship, the tie that gives to life its zest,
The bond by which we know each other best,
The sweetest chord in human harmony
And timed to meet its need upon the way.

Morality, the sense that qualifies
To virtues held as nature's highest prize,
The test alone that measures to the man
And which by right all compromises ban.

And Brotherly Love, the soulness of the Art
That gives to life its courage and its heart;
It is indeed the soul-bind of the earth,
The kindredness that gives the world its worth.

Partners Here

from The Builder, July 1920 (as L. B. M.)

If you have made the fortune of the soul
Your heart will smile as life collects its toll,
And as you hand it out to bless and cheer
'Twill say to you, well done, we're partners here!

The Temperature Of The Lodge

Title Suggested by Brother Geo. L. Schoonover
from The Builder, Aug. 1920

Is not the heart-beat of the lodge today
A bit above the old-time normal way?
Does it not in a fevered mood beguile
The hours that make them so much less worth while?
It seems in haste to see that they are o'er
And hurries up its work upon the floor.

Its temperature seems feverish today,
It corners cuts and hastens on its way,
That is, it so speeds up the work in hand
That much is lost of its conception grand.
The hurrying world seems to sidestep the Art,
It seems to be, of it, the ruling part.

To some, as yet, these ways do not appeal;
Time was when it was all so really real;
But now, those who may come into the fold
Lose much that so appealed unto the old.
And so we find the Craft exposed today
To much that hurts the heart of Masonry.

The Cradle And The Charge

from Oriental Consistory Magazine, Sept. 1920

So long as our Masonic Temples stand,
So long as lives the Ancient Order grand,
So long will float the Flag of Freedom's right
Which was, by them, in time past brought to Light.

This potent power stands now behind the Flag,
And if so be a hand shall dare to drag
It from its place on Freedom's starry sky
The Craftsman will demand the reason why.

The Flag speaks for the Spirit of the Free,
The old-time thought of true Fraternity;
And it will live beneath it in the West
Forever for that which is noblest, best.

And so we'll trust in Masonry to be
Four-square for aye to righteous Liberty
Its Cradle was by them rocked in the past
And they will guard their Charge while time shall last.


If The Craft Shall Believe In Me

from The Builder, Oct. 1920

As the parting time at last shall come
As I've tried to set the seal
And the spirit of the mystic home
Of the Art that is ideal,
As I've prayed my way with heart and hand
As the Light has helped to see,
I'll be blest upon the border-land
If the Craft shall believe in me.

I have tried to be true to the Art
Through the years as they have passed,
To indite that which allures the heart
To the Truth of things at last.
Though I may have stumbled here and there
Where we all so love to be,
But O, how richly will I fare
If the Craft shall believe in me!

It may be I've sometimes left the way
In the quest of other things,
And to some have marred the harmony
Of the soulfulness it brings;
It may be I've faltered on the way
Of a faith reality,
But I seek the Light and humbly pray
That the Craft may believe in me.

And if thereby to them shall come
An added bit of joy
I'll be truly blest in what I've done
In the dear old Art's employ;
And blest will be the by and by
If my angel whispers me
That 'twas not in vain, my "passing by,"
For the Craft believes in me.

Square With The World

from The Builder, Nov. 1920

Square with the world, square away to vision true,
Never mind the creeds, 'tis the world you're holding to.
Square with the world, 'twas for you laid in the plan
That's forever right, for there was to be a man.

And there was to be for him a way sublime
In the plan of life with its rugged heights to climb,
And 'twas left to him to prove that by the square
The beautiful might e'en be made more fair.

Square with the world, though no great deeds be done
You may find just where there's splendid greatness won;
In the kindly ways, in the cheerful word and smile
You may help so much to make life more worth while.

O, there's so many, and such grand ways to Square
Your life to this old world that's in your care!
To be Square with youth and manhood in the race
Will be forging on to earth's best, noblest place.

Square with the world, as Square as earth to sun
In the little things as in arduous duties done;
'Tis the royal way, the relation to, that's grand,
And itself the wage, paid in to heart and hand.

Square with the world, to it your heart hold true,
The adjustment rare will win the points for you
For the old world holds its pathway in the skies
For naught else save to help you win the prize.

The Priceless

from The Builder, July 1921

Do what we may, do we find as life unfolds its parts
That those things that are priceless here are locked in human hearts?
Though we may seek to prizes win, though we may strive for gold,
Yet, in our nature's there is that which hearts alone can hold,
And that the priceless, after all, made so by nature's art,
Are things which in this world of ours repose within the heart;
And he who would the priceless find in super-nature ways
Or worldly things, or both, but stays the measure of his days.

When the Sun Runs Low

from The Builder, July 1921

Every season shows its best and 'tis left for us to see,
What in special things they mean to the soul's mentality.
E'en the winter brings its gleam to the frosty, sparkling snow,
That is nature's brightest seen, when the sun runs low.

And 'tis then that 'neath the porch as the sun creeps to the sky,
That a vision comes to me that the summer days deny;
For it through my window gleams in its kaleidoscopic glow
In its glory round the room, when the sun runs low.

And it really seems to me that when nature's heart so kind
Trusts all to us to be in our consciousness refined,
'Tis for us when the outdoors, changed from color to the snow
To respond to that which comes when the sun runs low.

And 'twould also seem that this, nature's compensating plan,
Holds the beautiful in trust for its consciouas creature, man.
For when comes his afternoon with its sunset's golden glow
It should bring the thought of rest when the sun runs low.

Masonry's Right Of Way

from The Builder, Oct. 1921

They come to us in numbers now where once there was but one,
The trail that leads up to our doors seems fairly overrun;
And so the question comes to us, how can the Craft today
Be popular and still maintain its old-time mystic sway?

A new and faster age is here and we're of it a part
And there's so much in this old world that tends to win its heart
Away from what once seemed to be held more in Brotherhood,
And from what we have always taught to be man's highest good.

So let us welcome to the Art all who are qualified;
The things that they most need should not be to them now denied;
They've nowhere else to go to find what we in Truth can give,
Our mission is to teach to them that Brotherhood must live.

And much within the past has come to us to do and dare,
To help to keep this world of ours in fairly good repair,
And it may come to us again as in our country's past
When it was ours to forge the dies that were for freedom cast.

So in these days of dire unrest we're finding but our own
To help to build the Temple walls that henceforth may be known
As that one place where truth and love in altruistic sway
Displayed the beauties of its Art by its own right of way.

Nature's Best Both Then And Now

from The Builder, Dec. 1921

And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and did obedience and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent. Exodus 18:7.

And they asked each other anxiously the old "how do you do,"
The other's welfare seemed to be the thought that thrilled them through,
They seemed to be just common folks before the throng that day,
And greetings over, to the tent they straightway took their way.

And this, so beautiful because so homelike and so sweet
And rare of those who held such trusts upon this precious meet
Stands out as nature's best expressed when it was just the same
As it is with us all today who play its splendid game.

And somehow, too, this greeting brings a message that reveals
The humanness that goes so far, though too oft 'tis concealed
Behind the rush of every day, behind the sordid care
Which, broken through would bring a bit of heart most anywhere.

And really what is there of earth that holds so much of cheer
As what we find in other's lives while "faring on" right here?
Does it not hold the best that is to human nature given
To make of any place a place that's worth the names of heaven?

Nature's Open Book

from The Builder, Feb. 1922

If heaven shall be made up of those, who, by the way of creeds
Seemed to get through St. Peter's gate, though somewhat shy on deeds,
Or those dear pious ones who find salvation in their way
More than they do in things that bring life's best into its play,
I shall be disappointed much, for sentiment and cheer
Is, after all, what makes the place worth living in down here.

But this, of course, presumes that I, so human here on earth
Might be among the company that by creeds measure worth;
If not, I shall be satisfied to find, among the rest
Those who "rubbed elbows" with me here in ways that gave me zest;
And it may be that to the place where I shall have to go
I'll find the Lodge Celestial of the ritual here below.

And the Concordant Orders too may in the place be found,
The place the most delightful where the Brothers hang around;
Then, too, the Sisterhoods so blest, the White Shrine and the Stars
May be near by to fashions swap with Sisters right from Mars;
So it may be that those Book-made old Jew-forged streets of gold
Will be the lonesome part of heaven when time its tale has told.

If we are ever changed from what we are by nature made
And placed in the environment the "good folks" have essayed,
We ne'er can "carry on" the things that gave to life its cheer,
For we must as ourselves reflect the things made precious here.
And this is my apology for what herein you see,
For nature's open book, as read, seems as the truth to me.

If God Is Love

from The Builder, March 1924

If God is love, then love is God
From soul to source, the same,
For from His own sweet alchemy
Came the undying flame
Within whose glow is forged the bands
That bind man to the earth
And qualify him in its plan
For all he is of worth.

If God is love and man was made
By it to do and dare
It is by free will and accord
That nature's conscious prayer
Must answered be by him alone
As aspirations lead
Him onward in the chosen way
That will his merit plead.

If God is love, 'tis love alone
Gives value to the world;
Its soul, as such, could never be
If not with it impearled.
It gives man to himself as Man
Refines his gold from dross
Without it all creation would
Be but a total loss.

If God is love, the immanence
Of it pervades the space,
'Tis in the very heart of life
And thereby growth in grace
Inheres in him who beauty sees
In nature's wondrous plan,
E'en to its old intention that
Expressed itself in Man.

L. B. Mitchell

from The Builder, March 1924

Bro. Mitchell enjoys the distinction of having been appointed by his Grand Lodge to be poet laureate of the Craft in Michigan. During the present month he will reach his seventy-fifth milestone, having grown venerable in Freemasonry, the spirit and ideals of which he has often wrought into verse, which is characterized by a rugged forthright sincerity. By way of helping his Michigan brethren to celebrate the diamond jubilee of his pilgrimage in this life The Builder sends him a friendly hail, and Ye Editor [H. L. Haywood] has ventured to inscribe to him a little poem after this wise:

To The Poet

The craft of song has small repute
Among the worldly wise;
They cannot find a worth at all
In what your arts devise:

Why not, they say, go till the fields
Or build the walls of trade!
That labor of a man is best
By which some gold is made.

If you who sing should cease your art
Or hold your craft in doubt,
The soil itself would break in songs,
The stones would cry them out.

The Hidden Powers that wrought the soil,
The gold, and everything,
By equal force compel the bard
His fragile rhymes to sing,

And to the need for bread they made
Another need belong,
For while the flesh may crave for bread
The soul must crave for song.

So he who sings has right to gold
As he who builds a wall,
For what is not with music built
Is never built at all.

L. Briggs Mitchell (1849-1928)

All of his poems were signed either L.B.Mitchell or L.B.M. We only learned of his given name from these records graciously supplied by the Grand Lodge of Michigan:

L. Briggs Mitchell; Wigton-Benona Lodge #251
Born in Wisconsin, March 13, 1849.
EA Aug. 23, 1911; FC Sept. 6, 1911; MM Sept. 23, 1911.
Deceased, April 23, 1928


from Cass City Chronicle, Cass City, Mich., weekly, issue Friday, May 4, 1928

Hart Funeral services were held here recently for L. B. Mitchell, 79 years old, Civil War veteran, Oceana County pioneer, carpenter and farmer, who was known as the "poet laureate" of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Michigan. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, and had been residing with a son, Edwin, a farmer near here.