Table of Contents

Jerry Leighton
  1. Gramp's Ring
  2. His Eye's Vision
  3. Larry
  4. It's My Turn Now
  5. A Visit by the Past Masters Unit
  6. Now!
  7. The Raps
  8. Welcome Master Hiram!
  9. The Planting
  10. The Etiquette
  11. A Real District Deputy?
  12. Exeter
  13. The Deacons To Their Chairs
  14. The Iron Curtain
  15. The Floor Creaks
  16. Welcome, Master Hiram!
  17. The Hunters' Breakfast
  18. The 6:30 Ode
  19. The Sign of the Portable Cooker
  20. The Empty Hall
  21. The Thirty-Thirds
  22. (Autobiographical) A Letter To Jesse
  23. Birth of the Masonic Poets Society
A Biography of Jerry Leighton



This one is real personal and needed to be finished so I originally posted it without finishing it. Brother Richard Pierce visited the site and replied that he wore his Grandfather's ring, old, thin and scarred and that he would soon be raising his own son to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason and will be passing on "GRAMPS Ring" to yet another generation of Masons. He was also kind enough to add the last three stanzas and made the poem complete and although he refers to his Dad, the message remains the same. Many thanks to Brother Pierce and his wonderful insight!
gsl.

Gramp's Ring

by Jerry Leighton and Richard Pierce

Dad gave me his ring
And I keep it with mine
In the box on the wall
Across from the hall.

The bottom's worn thin
And the top is all scarred
From wearing I guess
For work and for dress.

It looks just like mine
But bigger you see
He wore it with pride
Till the day that he died.

Toward the last of his day
It seemed to fall over
But the tape held it tight
twas a pitiful sight.

I keep it with mine
In the box with the clutter
Instead of by itself
Atop of the shelf.

So when I get mine
I often get his.
And smile at the thing
That memories bring.

So often I’ll pass
And reach for the thing
In the box on the wall
Across from the hall.

And now it’s all mine;
To give ... or to hold.
This sign of the Craft,
This worn bit of gold.

And I'll find by and by
If I look o'er this land
A Brother in need
Of a Mason's gold band.

And then will Dad's ring
Find a true resting place
And then I'll be sure
Of a smile on Dad's face.

We all know this man and we all wished we had more like him.
gsl.

His Eye's Vision

Years go by, he continues to try
To recite the thing verbatim.
With words that are wrong
But recrafted to fit
A meaning that fits his eye’s vision

Over again the same as it’s been
Tuned up to the cows and the heifers
A new thought that makes clear
The meaning that fits his eye’s vision.

As he thinks and he thinks, the mystery shrinks
A light is shed on the thing
The discovery made to be shared with another
With the meaning that fits his eye’s vision.

He delivers it next without any text
To the man sitting there like a stone.
The voice will go up or the voice will go down
With new meanings that fit his eye’s vision.

Schools that he ought mean little or naught
In the time that’s his to deliver.
He thinks he now knows and believes it sincere to a fault
The great meanings that fit his eye’s vision.

The new ray of light that’s burning so bright
On the path that’s worn smooth from deliveries.
He thinks it the same but it’s clear that’s its not
That meaning that fits his eye vision.

Correct him I may and spoil his day
But little would gain from the deal.
He’s passing the word from the mouth to the ear
With the meaning that fits his eye vision.

Maybe some day I’ll get up and say
"To the schools you’d better apply!"
But getting it right only shields and fogs over
The meaning that fits his eye vision.

We all start our travels with the urging of someone; I think and Larry is a ‘jumpstarter.’
gsl.

Larry

"What are you doing Wednesday night?"
He asked with a hint of a smile.
"Well, nothing I guess." I said in a while
Not knowing where he was a-leadin'.

"'Cause Pittsfield's up next." he said with a grin
"No reason for you not to go
The travlin’ is good, no hint of a snow
A Master they’re gonna be raisin'."

"It’s all still quite new." I said as a stall
Uneasy for all that attention,
"You’ll be just fine and let me mention
The supper that they’ll be a-havin'."

Not knowing the deal, I guess I agreed
For twas’ only an hour before
The lesson I did and knocked at the door;
The flush of the hour still with me.

He picked me up and away we went
Was soon in the neighboring town
The newest man with his flap turned down
At last with all of the others.

The supper was great, the lessons relearned
A wonderful night I recall.
A lot of new friends in a wonderful hall
And the start of my wonder filled travel.

Anyone been there?
gsl.

It's My Turn Now

It’s my turn now.
I’ve dreaded it all night and now it’s here!
They did the "pay the bill" thing
And what New Business will bring
But now comes the oldest of all.

It’s my turn now.
I’m last because of respect
Or is it habit of long ago
For I’m supposed to know
What the Grand Lodge is doing and why.

It’s my turn now.
I’m supposed to help
And move the craft
some forward not aft
Because I wear the collar.

It’s my turn now.
I’ve got the folder
With all the news
They patiently wait in the pews
For something important I guess.

It’s my turn now.
I stand and salute
I don’t feel much tall
It’s not really my hall
What if I step on my tother.

It’s my turn now.
The Past on the side
He looks at his watch
I hope I don’t botch
And run into big overtime.

It’s my turn now, Brother!

The Past Masters unit of our local Shrine put on the Master Mason Degree from time to time when they are asked. Each member of the team is a Past Master and they surely enjoy the work! This particular evening, they braved terrible weather and came to a small lodge to help a father raise a son.
gsl.

A Visit by the Past Masters Unit

Their fezzes bright, their tassels long
Upon the carpet bright
Past Masters they, sing Anah's song
And do the work this night.
They're proud these men, and Masters all
The unit's all together
They heed the plea; the Master's call
To raise another Brother.

So here they are, from everywhere
The road was up and down
They're happy, though, the wealth to share
That time sat on the crown.

The gloves, the tux, the jewels bright
The lessons well in hand
And best for him they have this night
Our Craft's immortal stand.

With somber eyes and hands to guide
This man, this one, this Brother
Each step illumines; not to hide
The story of another.

The work complete; the evening done
Each hand does grasp another.
The tear in the eye of the Father's Son
Set right with every Brother.

So once again the story's told
A slice of life to sample
A memory sowed for each to held
By Masters from the Temple.

Now!

His eyes serious, open and grim
He was part of something serious.
No ken at the time but alive in his part
And positive about that fellowcraft thing.
How to capture the time and preserve it along
When later he may forget and come round no more
And wears the ring and somehow forgets how earned.
"I can almost read it all now" he will say with great pride.
But for this moment at least he owns and he knows how he feels.
And is filled with great pride of this time and moment of knowledge.
He may forget and be gone like the rest, not knowing his part or how he belongs,
Or will He?

A personal view before the memory fades and I may forget. gsl.

The Raps

***

Now that was some impressive! Most of the joking and banter
is dying down and some kind of seriousness is descending
Over those who have prepared me
Or is it some type of humbling thing that they take great delight in?

***

Was some shuffling to be heard and muffled voices but there was the answer!
Some clear and close 'twas; and the men around me are all serious now
And clearing their throats and moving with rustling; can feel the closeness
All about me; must mean something to them I guess

***

Why only three and not more or less and why such determination
And intention at this mean time of day; or is it night? Beginning or End?
Who's to know? Which side of the door holds the answer
But really what's the question? Why suddenly am I uncomfortable?

***

Before it was bubbly and charm and fun uncommon to my accomplishments
Which are common in every respect except for those things that I hold dear
And which I'm sure they don't know about thus far
But in this seemingly solemn moment in which I participate, it that so?

***

It echoes doesn't it! Mayhaps thru time even! This is not what I expected!
This stand-up-straight time that I seem to be involved with
with these men at this time in this place with that sound all around me
It seems to be getting really warm now. Am I really ready for this?

***

A question and answer but very strangely put for the common man
Another and another but some of it is hard to put into my senses;
What is accord and why and who would ask? Its never happened before
This manner of who am I and why I'm here; Don't they know who I am?

***

My father must have known, my grandfather and his before him had to know
This sound which now inches into my Nike world but was it the same?
Is this why they passed such knowing smiles this night in the drive
As I tried to tie this uncommon tie that so unbecomes me?

***

Something ready, Something now is abounding in that sound and it's reply
And those men who seemed to know each other very well
Seemed to ready themselves as the baton was raised and the hush prevailed.
Is this why I came here and is it some game that I must learn?

***

A pressured hand on my arm that takes several "gottcha" grips
For more assurance of him than me and a sigh and a cough and a fumbling word
They are as nervous as I! How can this be and why!
Gotta do it now, I've committed. I wonder what committed really is?

***

Welcome, Master Hiram!

He's on his way
I rue the day
I said that I would do it!

What if I fail
My face will pale
I hope that I can do it!

My pulse is up
My breath corrupt
Steel up! I got to do it!

Well, take a breath
I'm scared to death
I know that I can do it!

Well here it goes
With itchy nose
They think that I can do it!

They've made the turn
He's gonna learn
The best that I can do it!

In 1995, we in Newport, ME took the brave step of building a new hall. It wasn't until 1998, however, that I discovered that something was missing. The evergreen! The symbol of immortality! The Tree! Thanks to the generosity of Brother David Buck of Buck's nursery, a small cedar tree was planted beside our new hall. I planted it on a wonderful warm afternoon.
gsl.

The Planting

There my friend, the planting's done; you're settled fast at last.
The hole was dug to hold your root for shadows long to cast
Upon our Masons lawn.

You're partnered now with cornerstone and symboled evergreens
To grow and bear our hopes to men of what 'forever' means
To those on cable tow.

So to your place I've put you well; the blackened soil tamp;
And watered well with hope and fears for when we must decamp
For that undiscovered land.

And so your fate is sealed my friend; your duty clear and dear
To send us off, each one by one with sprig of 'cacia here
Upon our breast to lie.

For your leaf upon my chest one day will fall so softly proud
In testing of immortal hopes to which I have avowed
Upon the oblong square.

So grow my friend the ground is yours, to spread; to try the sky.
Your purpose , though, is earthly bound when any of us die
And leave your mortal sight.

Can't remember where I found this one but I do remember that the author was anonymus and that I 'renovated" for my own use. My apologies to the author.
gsl.

The Etiquette

(as renovated)

I just got back from the barber shop
And, from the talk that's goin round,
The Grand Master's a commin'
And no "Etiquette" can be found!
Our Master's goin' round and round
Just like a great big top,
And if that "Etiquette" ain't found,
His heart will surely stop.
He searched the Constitooshion,
And Proceedings, high and low,
but not a line has he ever found
To tell him how to go.
Without the Etiquette you see
We won't know what to do.
Won't know when to let him in
Or how to pass him thru.
Where's that District Deputy
He should know what to do,
He knows the rules, he knows the laws
At least they say he do.
Gone fisn', Lord he's out of town
And nowhere to be found.
We're cooked, we're done, we're doomed
The Grand Masters coming round.
But our Master for last resort,
If he has to go that far-
He'll hunt up the Worthy Matron
Of the local Eastern Star.

I think that most feel a sense of pride when they are appointed to help guide the craft but for some of us there are still some unanswered questions I think.
gsl.

A Real District Deputy?

Each time it's different and each time the same
And has been from the whenever start
For centuries, I guess

And yet I'm the guardian by default
Of assignment, make sure it's done right
And it must have been the same
For centuries, I guess.

I'm supposed to know the question
Before I know how to make the answer;
A troublesome task and a burden,
But it must be done as it's been done before
For centuries, I guess.

So I took the assignment and shouldered the trust
And wear the purple and help where I can
And Wonder and Wonder and Wonder
If the craft is any better for my being there.
It must have been thus for numbers of us
For centuries, I guess.

I once stood in awe of the Grand Master's choice
Of his Deputy and of his guidance
But now Question why it is me he has chosen
To guard the Crafts precious secrets and ways
To help good become all the better
'Tis the way it's been done
For centuries, I guess.

So I watch each degree and each is anew
And each lodge presents its own version of the lesson,
Sure in the view that they are exactly right and
I sit and Wonder and Wonder and Wonder
Each time it's different and each time the same
And has been from the whenever start
For centuries, I guess.

I’m sure that close by you have a lodge that fits this description.
gsl.

Exeter

It’s been as it’s always been,
At least I think that’s so;
Built for its purpose
Where all the good men go.
But how could I know
If 'tis as once it was?
For I haven’t been here enough
To know if that is so.

It’s been as it’s always been,
built oblong large and square,
Native timber, calloused hands
As for a peaceful Masons' lair.
Some things don’t change or so I’m told,
But how would I ever know?
For I haven’t been here enough
To know if that is so.

The paint is peeling from the side
The ground is still quite rough
The grass grows high sometimes in June
And it’s furnace can huff and puff.
But still the same, the lessons learned
But how would I ever know?
For I haven’t been here enough
To know if that is so.

The men are gone who built and toiled
To make it all come true;
The smiles, the want, the need of men
To make a lodge of Blue.
It’s true my friend; this I believe
But how would I ever know?
For I’ve been there just long enough
To know that that is so.

Some stray thoughts as I was installing a couple of Deacons.
gsl.

The Deacons To Their Chairs

So what's behind those somber eyes
With firm hands on rods?
The symbols of deputed power,
Hold each upon the moment;
The jewels hung about the neck,
And charged each with his duty:
To attend on those with whom they serve
In acts so serious deported.

The Deacons to their chairs.

Suppose they bask in beauty old
And feel the need for doing?
And know the lineage of their kin
For ages yet uncounted?

Or do they sigh; reluctant ones
Are there 'cause no one would?
Or look around for help or clue
And wished it otherwise?

The Deacons to their chairs.

And so the flow will lift and surge,
Involve them now it will.
And starts afresh the leaders tide,
A-heading for the Chair.

They are the new, the remedy
For who the years have waited.
If ready not they'll stand the test
Of goals a-looming larger;

To hold the burden of the Craft,
Not knowing rightly how.
For some be ready and some be not,
To wield and lead the way.

The Deacons to their chairs.

Ever had the "iron curtain" come down while you were in the middle of a lecture?
gsl.

The Iron Curtain

Ever been without a word
And stand there like a log?
And churn inside a hummingbird
While hoping to unclog?
A wave ascends up to the ear
And warmness does arrive.
The twitching of the hand is fear
And air to lungs deprive.

Where is that word! Upon the floor?
Look down— look up— look over—
It's hiding there behind the door
Inside the stone hard cover.

But now! But wait! The word is there
You feel the moment pass
It's coming like a wounded hare
A' rustling in the grass.

A breath to take and ready now
To blurt and keep the pace
The message you can now endow
And even save some face!

So when the iron curtain draws
And words come flowing out.
Don't think about the little pause
That gave your mind the gout!

The Floor Creaks

The floor creaks.
He wasn't expecting this reception
But wasn't expecting anything at all
Since none was known except for the knowing
Smiles from men he had known long
And Some not at all.

The floor creaks.
In this place with the senses retrained
And the words strange to the untuned ear.
With the feet laid soft upon the floor
While being led with assurance and knowing
To a place, but where?

The floor creaks.
Is the building that old? Or does the rite need
This sound that assures that all is quite sane
To the new of the Craft in this first sense of old
And oneness with all who assemble this nite
For this purpose that's his.

The floor creaks.
It's a sound not regarded till this time and this hour
By any who tread on the board of the floor,
Till the hush of the moment and the serious approach
Of the labor and time; and the new world retreats
To give way to the once-was.

The floor creaks.
Will be forgotten, this sound, with the lesson ahead.
And none note the loss 'cept the foot or the slipper
As words now replace the moan and the history
Steeped deep in the heart of this place
That delivers once more.

The floor creaks.
The history is clear, of the sound and the entry
That this house now upheaves from the beams
Of support; and the Craft takes the load and the burden
As the floor and the board and the carpet this evening,
To test the heft of him.

The traditional Hunters Breakfast is given at the hall on the first Saturday of the hunting season here in Maine and has become very popular. We start serving at 4am. Some things are worth preserving.
gsl.

The Hunters' Breakfast

Such laughter and barbs is hard to believe at 3:00 a.m.
'Cause ol' Baconmeister is at work and the grill hot and ready.
Each to his station for pancakes and sausage
The fires lit and the juice up and ready.
The eggs are lined up with the beans without peer;
And the noise in the kitchen feeds the ear.

Such laughter and barbs is hard to believe at 4 a.m.
When the first arrive, kind of slow and sleepy,
Are soon overtaken by the bustle and smiles
As the eggs are doled out with a story or two.
More coffee, more that, pile it up for the hunters are here;
And the noise in the kitchen feeds the ear.

Such laughter and barbs is hard to believe at 5 a.m.
When the bullets and knives and sons and few daughters
Line up for the Annual-Once-In-A-Lifetime-Or-Ever Tradition
of filling the plate and the soul of the morning
From one to the other for memories dear;
And the noise in the kitchen feeds the ear.

Such laughter and barbs is hard to believe at 6 a.m.
And still more they come, some different now though
Some orange, some green, some checkered, some plain;
Some going to work and some off to the field.
Important for some for the time's nearly here;
And the noise in the kitchen feeds the ear.

Such laughter and barbs is hard to believe at 7 a.m.
For more business-like now as the pans pile up dirty
And the coffee rebrewed as they look for a lull
And a breath or two from the heat of the kitchen
But the hustle maintained til the last one is here;
And the noise in the kitchen feeds the ear.

Such laughter and barbs is hard to believe at 8 a.m.
Not all that are left of the original crew
Some gone, some came, some stayed.
But they'll sit with the stragglers and talk
And tell stories and guess how many were here;
And the noise in the kitchen feeds the ear.

Such laughter and barbs is hard to believe at 9 a.m.
For now it's the hard part, the cleaning and stuff.
But still it was worth to be part of the thing
That's passed from father to son and some daughters.
And share the pre-thrill of opening day, down there at the hall;
And the noise in the kitchen feeds the ear.

The 6:30 Ode

To the fork and the knife,
To the pots and the cups,
To the repast of life,
To wonderful sups.

For the rolls and the butter,
For handshakes around,
For the small prayer we utter,
For smiles that abound.

Let the world stay outside.
Let its wind howl and blow!
Let the words that deride,
Let 'em pack up and go.

It's at supper this nite.
It's to mix with each one.
It's doing what's right.
It's friendship that's done.

So pass up the plate.
So start up the chatter.
So isn't this great?
So what's on the platter?

Sometimes fellowship starts with the festive board and the festive board would be incomplete without the portable cooker!
gsl.

The Sign of the Portable Cooker

Looking for signs, and great emblems and tools,
That are shrouded and dim thru the ages?
Something we'll know and not look like the fools?
Then look no further, my friend,
Then to the sign of the portable cooker!

It's big and it's white, and black handles on end,
And gawd-awful heavy when full.
No mystery here and no secrets to send,
And those passwords are really not needed
At the sign of the portable cooker!

Black cover, black dial, and no sex appeal;
It holds beans, or the oysters in stews.
And strangers mixed well, what a thing! What a deal!
At suppers and meals when standing on line
At the sign of the portable cooker!

For roasting and braising and cooking a lot
Of the stuff that we think that is needed.
But friends it makes well, what a wonderful pot!
As we sit and partake of the world
By the sign of the portable cooker!

Most strangers and friends will know at a glance,
No mystery here at this time.
'Cause spirits uplifted, our souls more enhance
With good cheer and lots more
At the sign of the portable cooker!

This standard equipment of lodges around
Should be issued along with the charter.
No way to explain the Masons it's bound
Or the laughs or the friends that we've made
By the sign of the portable cooker!

The hour after the brethren disperse and leave the hall for their homes is a magic time for those who stay to turn off the lights. Somehow there is a warmth — a mysterious warmth. Perhaps it has to do with all of the brotherly expressions between "Br yo wi pl be cl..." and "...I de th lo of mm du cl."
gsl.

The Empty Hall

The Music of Three Thousand Years

The hush — the still — the empty hall;
Hear the echoed voices strong
From the hours past recall
Of lodge room brothers clasping throng
In the plaintive lays of Brotherhood.

Each tried, polite, restrained or soft,
And squared themselves for just that time —
Fraternal tone abound in loft
And shared the gentle 'clime
In the plaintive lays of Brotherhood.

But now this solitary room
With emblems sturdy and in place
Where readied lessons gently loom
For those unhurried or in haste
A wondrous echo stirs.

Its sound and warmth surrounds the all
And lands so light upon the place
To fold its wings within the hall.
For gifts to those who know its grace
The wondrous echo stirs.

The plaintive lays of brotherhood
Its wondrous echoes stir.
For those who know, it's understood
Softly, sweetly, they concur
Filling their delighted ears.

The Thirty-Thirds

They came as was bid by the lodge in the wood
and offered up their service.
It’s not often they gather; this group for this purpose
and take on the chairs.
No need of rehearse for this group as the litany’s known well
by all in the circle.
So they come and they come; some several; some one
and lay down their trove.
The master is flushed and the lodge flocks and gathers and stays some apart
The actives; the pasts and the ones with the rings
with the ties and the tails.
Each seems a leader and each a part of all that is ours;
And all smile the smile.
Some in awe and some are not and indifferent I think and huddle by the sink.
The talk and the handshakes that only familiar can offer
and they know every other.
For each knows the rest from things of the past
and they work on the future.
“How much supper? More beans!”
With the rabbit look of panic as the noise swells.
So now to the cases with the zippers and bags
and the supper is done.
And the business settles the noise and confusion of meeting
and they look for each item that’s needed.
“We’re to open, Oh My! where’s the aprons and things” and they scurry again.
Each been exhaulted and greeted; been raised and been knighted
and each is on level this night.
The Pasts and the Present’s with titles and honors and things on the wall
And the Masters unsure of it all.
“Oh look! We’ve no Tyler! He’s nowhere in sight”; and they look for a face.
So the hammer's brought down and all been saluted
and each to his chair on the side.
To the sigh of relief from the lodge in the wood to the sparkling eye
and the collars are passed.
“They’re Grand this or Grand that and let’s see if they do it as we.”
Smooth and well polished, each knowing what’s next,
and the work goes on
Each had done the works biding through the years and times
and all love the doing.
“This language we know and now on the level
with this group of strange faces.”
But shortly it’s over for this gathering of men that are bonded
and they've quietly gone to their cars.
Knowing the biding was well done and the lesson well learned
and they knew it from the beginning.
“What a wonderful night, let’s hope they come back so we know them at least,
and now it’s off to the dishes.”

A Letter To Jesse

[This following item isn't a poem; so I've put it at the end, where I'd normally put a biography, since it gives us a look into the soul of the founder of the M.P.S.
okl.]

Date: 10 July 1997

Dear Jesse:

Once again, my friend, you have stimulated me. It is no wonder that you are one of our Masonry's leaders because one of the attributes of leadership is to stimulate others. While thinking about your 'Altar' presentation and doing some research of my own, some personal thoughts began to take form. While studying the proposition that the Altar of Masonry is actually an Altar of Sacrifice upon which the Mason rests some of the unwanted attributes of his life that "encumbers his progress towards virtue", I tried to remember what most impressed me when I took the Entered Apprentice Degree.

The subject of the Altar is given a lot of print in the Morals and Dogma by Pike and in the new book about Pike, Albert Pike The Man Behind the Myth. His style of thinking and writing are certainly top notch in anybody's book but the first impressions of the Altar as is used in the E.A. Degree are hard to forget. Since my early teens, the Altar was a place where the minister did his thing and was kind of disconnected from me and my needs. Not spending much time in church until later in life, that impression stayed with me. I, of course, had heard that sacrifices were made on Altars during the Bible stories, but the close and personal meaning of this area was still somewhat distant from me. There was always a Bible in the house but since religion tends to let you study at your own pace, the Sports Illustrated was read and studied more than that "Great Light".

However, Masonry teaches in a different manner. The Altar holds the central position in the lodge room. The Holy Bible is opened to specific pages, although, I must confess that it was much later in my Masonic Career that I knew why. In any event, when the hoodwink was removed, here I was in close proximity of the Holy Bible. Actually kneeling at an Altar with the Book open before me and surrounded by very solemn men who seemed to be guarding me and supporting me at the same time. I didn't particularly remember much about the lectures or the work or the signs of recognition at that time, but I did remember the experience of having the hoodwink removed and seeing the "Great Light" so close and personal.

Nothing since has impressed me more in Masonry.

For the first time, the Holy Bible was there for me and not to be the subject of somebody else's interpretation, but for my own interpretation. Perhaps that evening I did indeed sacrifice something on that Altar but at that moment when "I could neither see nor prevent danger" I was brought to the realization that this organization I was joining had something other to offer than perhaps an Elks Club or some other social fraternity. Having my Grandfather and Father in the room gave me pause for thought. Although I was trying to pay attention to the Worshipful Master and remember this experience, my mind was trying to piece together why this was so important to my closest relatives, as neither of them hardly went to church; and they often expressed disdain for those evangelists on TV, as well as those who came to our doors from time to time to spread the "Word of God". And yet, here I was - kneeling at an Altar with the Bible directly before me and my father with tears in his eyes.

I believe that, because of your urging, I have discovered one of the reasons why we have several men who have not gone beyond the E.A. Degree in our lodge. This type of experience will not fit into everyone's ideal, especially in this 'enlightened' age. Without good support, this experience could make the average guy like me feel uncomfortable. Although all must express a belief in God, I'm not convinced that everyone truly believes in God as the term is used and experienced in Masonry. This business at the Altar, this grand experience if you will, was the defining moment for me in Masonry. I think that either you are greatly impressed and are determined to find out more and be a part of this, or you are truly uncomfortable with the close proximity of the Holy Bible on this Altar at which you are kneeling and feel that "this is not for me" and never come back.

Like all of us, I have since had the opportunity several times to again kneel at this Altar and have even offered up prayers to the Supreme Author of our Existence. I not only feel more comfortable now, but actually look forward to the opportunity. Even reciting these 'canned' prayers have helped to remind me that prayer is important. Since I have a key to our lodge hall, I sometimes go and kneel at this Altar and pray when no one is around and never have I come away from there not feeling refreshed. This Altar that stands in each of our lodges is , to me at least, a personal Altar. The more I study the more I wonder...

Once again, THANKS!

Yours in the Service to the Craft

Jerry Leighton

Birth of the Masonic Poets Society

I have to start off by saying that this Masonic Poets Society thing was the result of some 'off the wall thinking' on my part. You see, I work in a paper mill; and from time to time, (especially on the night shift) strange thoughts appear in my 'noggin'. For example, it seemed reasonable to me that there must be lots of men who share the same respect and awe for our great Masonic fraternity as I do. It also seemed reasonable that many of these men are expressing themselves in modern prose. All that being true, then it naturally follows that some type of forum should be established that would allow me to be able to gather these wonderful bits of insight that would not only satisfy my curiosity, but would be a platform for many to enjoy so... witness the birth of the Masonic Poets Society of Newport Maine, USA! Newport is a fitting place to start such an undertaking since that is where the Mrs. and I call home and where our computer is being nourished and cared for. It certainly does not mean that only folks from Newport are included. In fact, we hope that just the opposite is true. Indeed, I have been more than blessed to have received so many wonderful works from Brothers from around the world and I certainly encourage you to submit any of your work so that it may also be posted where others can enjoy. There are no rules, of course, and nothing to join. I certainly how that you enjoy the works presented here.

Jerry Leighton, c.1999


A Biography of Jerry Leighton