Table of Contents

  1. What You Can Do?
  2. The Minstrel
  3. Websites
  4. Decisions
  5. A Poem Has Wings So Limber
  6. Analysis
  7. Who Did This?
  8. What Does This Cost?
  9. What Else Are We Doing?


Welcome to the Masonic Poets Society and the MPS Newsletter. You have been invited to join this Society because you have expressed an appreciation for the finer things in life -- the loftiness of Masonic ideals, and the beauty of poetic forms. Here, we will attempt to meld these two quests towards perfection, twining them into something even greater than the sum of their parts. And we ask you to be a bit of that process.

What You Can Do?

Many people will be needed. Most numerous of all will need to be simply an audience to read our poems and ooh and ahh appreciatively at the appropriate measures. Without an audience and applause, any performer is dead. So please, be profuse with your praise. And if you're on any other Masonic mailing lists, make an announcement about the Society for anyone else who might be interested.

But also needed are contemporary poets, to write the new songs of Masonry today, for tomorrow.

And archivists, to ferret out yesterday's poems that have been lost, and bring them back into light.

Editors and web artists, to organize and produce the poems.

Reviewers (dast I utter the horrid word, "critics"?), to analyze works, and inform us of works in dead-tree editions or on other websites than our own.

And finally, a few bureaucrats to coordinate it all.

A Society isn't just a website or a newsletter. A Society is people. A Society is participation. A Society isn't me. A Society isn't you. A Society is me and you and them together.

The Minstrel

A man stumbled into the emergency room dressed in a medieval bard's outfit, clutching his stomach with one hand and moaning in agony. With his free hand he was grasping a lute, which he dropped on the floor in front of the nurse's station. He then collapsed in a heap on the floor, rolled himself into a fetal position, and began to moan much louder. Fearing serious food poisoning, doctors quickly brought a stretcher out and rolled him into the bowels of the ER. Half an hour later, the man walked past the nurse and out the door, whistling happily to himself. Noticing that the man looked much healthier, the nurse asked one of the doctors what was ailing the man. The doctor shrugged and said, "nothing big,... just minstrel cramps."


We have three websites. is a snipped URL that points to the most recent one.

The original one is by Founder Jerry Leighton, but was last updated July 5, 2004. You can view it at

A mirror site was set up by Brother Sandy Smith at but it hasn't been updated since March 14, 2004, so it lacks a few poems that are on the original site. But it does have a nicer URL, and will be designated the Primary website (not to be confused with the Maine website) once all are coordinated on updating.

Brother Owen Lorion came aboard as webmaster in November of 2004 and added a temporary third site. The snipped URL currently points to his work-in-progress at but once all the bugs are out, the main sites will be updated with the redecorated versions and the snipped URL will be redirected there. It has several new poems added since the last update on Jerry's site, but also a lot of added archival matter.


To start, we need to make a lot of decisions. Decisions that will affect our Society for years to come. So we may be using the polling facility of this newsletter frequently. Do please participate, even if some of the questions may seem trivial.

For many of these decisions, there will need to be two parts. First, asking for suggestions, and then voting on them. Fortunately, we should be a more-than-average creative group, so I expect suggestions to flow even though our numbers may be few.

To get the ball rolling with a fairly inconsequential one while we're still in our early recruiting stage, what title should we bestow upon our high grand poobah? Keep in mind that we expect one day to be on a level with the Blue Friars (Grand Abbot), The Philalethes Society (President), The Shrine (Imperial Potentate), and other such bodies. Send your suggestions to me (I think you can do that by replying to this message, if not, send an e-mail to ) and I'll set up a poll following the next issue so everyone can vote on our choices. Give as much or as little reason as you want. Suggestions that include names for subsidiary offices are welcome, and may even have an edge.

For example, our Founder and First CEO is Gerald "Jerry" Leighton, so I suppose we could honor him by making the title the "First Light On". I like the romantic title of "Cavalier," though the Cavalier movement in English poetry was in the early-mid 1600s, over a century before Robert Burns. Perhaps "Cavalier Laureate" for the top office, and lower grades for the others. "Cavalier Acaciate," and "Cavalier Ivyate." Or before the office of poet laureate was established, the British king's poet was know casually as his "minstrel" or "versifier," and before that Richard the Lion-Hearted did pay an allowance to his "Versificator Regis." Maybe something could be done with that?


We can't have a poetry 'zine without some poetry, so here is my latest poem. I'm sorry, it has nothing to do with Masonry, but at least it is about Poetry.

A Poem Has Wings So Limber

by Owen Lorion, 4/5/05

A poem has wings so limber
that they can cover all of Creation.

It may have wings like an eagle
to soar to the loftiest heights
Where we can feel it expanding
our lungs, our spirits, our sights.

They're the wings of the frivolous flutterby
in neons and day-glow so bright;
Enhancing, entrancing, enchanting,
with words that amaze and delight.

Some poems have wings of dragons,
musty scales, part leather, part stone.
>From the depths, they are Eld, they are scary,
and yet we can't leave them alone.

Poems have the wings of gnats
pestiferous no-see-ums that drive us insane!
Some lyrics get into your mind -- wrap around --
and you _can't get them out of your brain!

Sweet poems have the wings of songbirds
twittering airs so melodic,
Serenading all who can hear them,
inviting lovers to frolic.

Fun poems have the wings of squirrels
and sugar gliders, skimming from trees.
Parasails spread for surfing excitement
as they waft with the wind through the leaves.

Airplanes lend wings to poems
fixed by aerodynamic designs;
As rigid as Iambic Pentameter,
shiny as Titanium lines.

Iridescent are the wings of the dragonfly
there are poems in their delicate bracts
They are clear -- any color -- whatever you like!
(Only dragonfly _knows the true hue tracks.)

Poems have the wings of a bat,
night flier, cave sleeper by day.
Bound in leather, in libraries dusty
as if hidden: deep... dark... and away.

A poem has wings like you, dear child,
for the best wings of all are imagination.


If you'd rather not have your poems torn apart, please skip this. But as the poet, I do want to take the opportunity to point out a few little quirks I'm proud of. Foremost is the way the framing verse is split -- the last half at the start of the poem, and the rhyming first half at the end. And then there are the puns at the ends of the squirrel and airplane stanzas. The gliders waft through the leaves of trees like poems waft through the leaves of books; and airplanes have shiny lines, but poems have lines that can shine, too.

Who Did This?

Jerry Leighton is Founder and CEO of the MPS, but as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Maine, he has little time or energy these days to devote to the Society, and has delegated most of it to me, Brother Owen Lorion (Cerrillos Lodge #19, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA), as Webmaster. And I'd like to spread it around even more, which is why I'm organizing a more complete Societal structure. This issue of the MPS newsletter was entirely written by y'r humble servant (except the joke, which I lifted off the Net). I hope one of you will volunteer to take over and do the next issue, and another will offer to submit a review of a book of Masonic poetry, and two of you will come up with better jokes, and 4 of you will have poems for the website that we can first put in the newsletter. You now have your assignments. Pick which one you want, and write me back as soon as you have it ready, so I can get back to concentrating on the website. Which, by the way, I could use a co-webmaster with.

What Does This Cost?

So far, nothing. Our expenses have been essentially nil. Websites and email lists are donated or paid for by small ads. I personally am a reclusive sort, so I don't intend to propose any conventions or get-togethers. No plans are afoot for any print magazines, and the Rob Morris CD we may be co-sponsoring would be a break-even burn-on-demand deal as I understand it. So for now, no dues, and all one has to do to "join" our Society is subscribe to this Newsletter, which can be done by sending a blank e-mail to We should perhaps better be called the Masonic Poets Society OnLine, since we don't have any print publications (yet), but it certainly does keep our budget down!

What Else Are We Doing?

If you're still reading to here, you are indeed devoted. But in fact, we do have some projects going. A lot of these are obvious.

Perhaps one of the brothers involved with the Rob Morris project will have an article on that for next issue, and I should have one on the website restoration project then, too. But most pressing is the people location, and it's one you may be able to help with.

Although we are spread all over the world, our online community is very interconnected, and so I'm hoping that most of these missing persons will be known to at least one of you. The following people have actively contributed to the collection so far, although not all may be aware of it! Unless indicated as just a (contrib.) who sent in someone else's poem, they have at least one poem in the collection. Between crashes, upgrades, second-party submissions, and old ISP eddresses bouncing, Jerry and I don't have eddresses for any of these people. I suspect several may have demitted to the Great Lodge on High. At least one person I originally had on this list, whose poem had been sent in third-hand, turned out to have died in the 1920s! I don't think he ever did have an e-mail box.

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