Poets Corner

Welcome to Poets corner

This is a page where we welcome all our readers to submit poems, limericks etc. relevant to masonry and the current situation with Covid-19. They do not need to be originals that you have composed. If you find a poem, limerick or short story that you think others would find interesting or amusing, please send it to pco@herefordshiremasons.org.uk

The Shadow of a Man – Ben Clifford 2020

Arrow Lodge 2240

They always get it started
And we all follow suit.
But now they have departed,
It turns us all to mute.
 
The common thing to do
Is fill ourselves with grief,
But now we know the truth;
Death is just a thief.
 
Our actions and our words
Help wash the pain away.
We celebrate the life they had
And miss them every day.
 
Memories fill the mind
Of good times and the bad,
They now look down to earth
On all of us so sad.
 
The shadow of a man
Will always show his glory.
Now that they have gone
We can tell their story.

The Mother Lodge – Rudyard Kipling 1894

THERE was Rundle, Station Master,
An’ Beazeley of the Rail,
An’ ‘Ackman, Commissariat,
An’ Donkin’ o’ the Jail;
An’ Blake, Conductor-Sergeant,
Our Master twice was ‘e,
With im that kept the Europe-shop,
Old Framjee Edu1jee.
Outside – ” Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!
Inside – ‘Brother,” an’ it doesn’t do no ‘arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!
 
We’d Bola Nath, Accountant,
An’ Saul the Aden Jew,
An’ Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An’ Amir Singh the Sikh,
An’ Castro from the fittin’-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!
 
We ‘adn’t good regalia,
An’ our Lodge was old an’ bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An’ we kep’ ’em to a hair;
An’ lookin’ on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain’t such things as infidels,
Excep’, per’aps, it’s us.
 
For monthly, after Labour,
We’d all sit down and smoke
(We dursn’t give no banquets,
Lest a Brother’s caste were broke),
An’ man on man got talkin’
Religion an’ the rest,
An’ every man comparin’
Of the God ‘e knew the best.
 
So man on man got talkin’,
An’ not a Brother stirred
Till mornin’ waked the parrots
An’ that dam’ brain-fever-bird.
We’d say ’twas ‘ighly curious,
An’ we’d all ride ‘ome to bed,
With Mo’ammed, God, an’ Shiva
Changin’ pickets in our ‘ead.
 
Full oft on Guv’ment service
This rovin’ foot ‘ath pressed,
An’ bore fraternal greetin’s
To the Lodges east an’ west,
Accordin’ as commanded.
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother-Lodge once more!
 
I wish that I might see them,
My Brethren black an’ brown,
With the trichies smellin’ pleasant
An’ the hog-darn passin’ down;
An’ the old khansamah snorin’
On the bottle-khana floor,
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother-Lodge once more.
 
Outside – Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!’
Inside- Brother,” an’ it doesn’t do no ‘arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

Rudyard Kipling was initiated into the Lodge of Hope and Perseverance No 782 at the Masonic Hall, the Jadughar in Anarkali, Lahore on 5 April 1886, at the age of twenty. As this was the Lodge into which he was initiated it became his Mother Lodge. A Freemason will always have a particular attachment to the Lodge which saw him enter into Freemasonry, even though he may cease to be a member of that particular Lodge.

The poem was written some eight years later, when he was living in Vermont. Charles Carrington in his The Complete Barrack-room Ballads, reports that it was written in a single day, on October 29th 1894, while Conan Doyle was staying with the Kiplings. It celebrates the equality which reigns among Freemasons without distinction of profession, rank, race or creed and the first two stanzas clearly reflect the diversity of this particular Lodge, underscored by the refrain which contrasts the behaviour displayed in public with that shown inside the Lodge. The use of vernacular with the dropped ‘h’ highlights the wide social rankings of the members.

If – Rudyard Kipling – 1895

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
 
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Written in the form of paternal advice to the poet’s son, John.

The Old Black Shoes –

Believed to have been written by an unidentified Freemason in Portugal?

The old black shoes are looking glum
As I pass the lobby door,
“What’s wrong with you?” they seem to say,
“We’re going out no more.
We’ve taken not a single step,
Not third or even first,
And ne’er a sign we’ve seen you give,
Has Masonry been cursed?”
 
“It has”, I said, “by virus vile,
We have to stay at home
Until such time the plague has passed,
Then once more we can roam.
 
The Masons’ Halls are empty,
Regalia put away,
Gavels now stay silent,
DCs hold no sway.
Volumes of the Sacred Law
On pedestals redundant,
Now Brother Jim contacts his friends
By social posts abundant.
 
No handshake, word or secret sign,
No friendly Festive Board
No Tyler’s song to say Goodnight,
No organ’s well-loved chord.
 
“Black shoes,” I said, “do not despair,
Our Chain is firm and strong
Our flag of love remains unfurled
We’ll sing again our song.
 
And though our Brethren may have passed
To Grander Lodge Above,
We’ll look upon their memories
With everlasting Love;
 
And in their name, we’ll offer help
And soothe the burdened heart;
We’ll comfort those who are distressed,
Thus Masons play their part.
 
And when this crisis is resolved
We’ll sing the old refrain,
 
Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part,
Happy to meet again.

Our Heroes – The NHS Army

By Matt Kelly 2020

I’ll tell you a tale, that’s been recently written,
Of a powerful army, so Great it saved Britain,
They didn’t have bombs and they didn’t have planes,
They fought with their hearts and they fought with their brains,
 
They didn’t have bullets, armed just with a mask,
We sent them to war, with one simple task,
To show us the way, to lead and inspire us,
To protect us from harm and fight off the virus,
 
It couldn’t be stopped by our bulletproof vests,
An invisible enemy, invaded our chests,
So we called on our weapon, our soldiers in Blue,
“All Doctors, All Nurses, Your Country needs you”
 
We clapped on our streets, hearts bursting with pride,
As they went off to war, while we stayed inside,
They struggled at first, as they searched for supplies,
But they stared down the virus, in the whites of its eyes,
 
They leaped from the trenches and didn’t think twice,
Some never came back, the ultimate price,
So tired, so weary, yet still they fought on,
As the virus was beaten and the battle was won,
 
The many of us, owe so much, to so few,
The brave and the bold, our heroes in Blue,
So let’s line the streets and remember our debt,
We love you, our heroes, Lest we forget.

Matt Kelly 2020