Table of Contents

  1. It's My Turn, I Suppose
  2. What You Can Do For the MPS
  3. Playing With Titles - Where Does the MPS Go From Here?
  4. Notes to the Society
  5. Recent Poems:
  6. Upon the Establishment of the Masonic Poets Society
  7. Come Join In
  8. Feast of St. John
  9. Saying Goodbye to Brother J. B. Hutcherson PM
  10. Poetic Studies: Masonic Poets Laureate, Part I


PROCEEDINGS
of the Masonic Poets Society

Number 2 - July, 2005


It's My Turn, I Suppose

"Welcome to the Masonic Poets Society and the Proceedings of the MPS. Hopefully, you are reading this 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." - MPS Newsletter Number 1

I am David Terrell, Past Master of Smithfield Lodge 455, located in a small city near Fort Worth, Texas. Brother Lorion slipped under my guard and convinced me to attempt the second "newsletter" for the Masonic Poets Society.

I've written verse since my youth. At various times I've touched on Scouting, the mountains, adversity, ships and the sea, the Navy, America, family life, fatherhood, warfare, and death. Through the years, I have never found so rich a subject for my verses than the fraternity, ethics, affection, duty, and love embodied in the actions, words, symbolism and events one finds in a Masonic Lodge or in a Mason's heart.

As a military reservist, I was mobilized to active duty when the War on Terrorism began. The war changed me. The violence, the hate, and first-hand exposure to the effects of religious tyranny left me-well-less tolerant of what I saw, upon my return, as petty arguments among some members of my lodge. I needed a spiritual quest and my lodge was more of a social place. I've turned back to my poetry.

I've not given up on Masonry. Quite the contrary, I've been doing a great deal of reading, pondering and prayer: philosophy, theosophy, mythology, and esotericism. I feel like, at heart, I'm more of a Mason now than I was before-but, I feel like an Ascetic or Alchemist of old, or the Hermit of the Tarot-with children. As Pike implies in the 32nd: I've been trying to subjugate the Human; conquer the Appetites and Passions; and, struggle against the Material and Sensual-to occasional success.

Join us. Spread the word.

P.S.

Greetings from ***. It's 0525; the end of a 20-hour shift; in a damp tent; in damp, stinkin' BDUs; about 80ºF already; and, its raining today... and will be tomorrow... and the day after... I'm in a "hutch" using a "ruggedized laptop" and a satphone modem to reach a sbcglobal dialup... amazing.

I was suddenly called away to support a unforseen goverment effort. As part of my orders, I was prohibited from notifying anyone outside my immediate family of my impending travel until I was at my final destination. I will be out of the country for at least another two weeks.

So this is why this issue missed the July 14 deadline Brother Lorion had requested for it. Thanks to him for polishing the next-to-last draft up a little and sending it out. We hope you haven't gotten too impatient waiting for it.

David Terrell
Camp ***,
Armed Forces *** Command Headquarters


What You Can Do For the MPS

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.

Playing With Titles - Where Does the MPS Go From Here?

By Brother David Terrell (davidterrell80@hotmail.com)

As I wrote to Brother Lorion, I like the German equivalent of bard or skald, "meistersinger", as a title for the presiding officer of the MPS. The "Brother (or Sister) Master Singer"-it has a nice sound. I thought of naming the Senior Warden "Master Rhymer" and the Junior Warden the "Master Seer". I became somewhat carried away and dreamt of naming the Deacons the "Troubadour" and "Folksinger".

The titles suggested to me a motto of sorts; "To See, to Rhyme, to Sing" or, in my 25 year-old schoolbook Latin; "Aspicio, Poematio, Canto".

I proposed three levels of membership: Associate, Member and Fellow.

Brother Lorion (owenkl@nmmasons.org ), in a post to me, said he "had suggested once to [Brother] Jerry [Leighton] that we might have a title for members of Bard, which we could write as Bard. We could find or make up some suitable Latin phrase to fit it as an acronym."


Notes to the Society

Brothers, I am grateful that you and others have put forth this effort. When I joined Masonry I was disappointed by the lack of effort, and had an impression that I was going to enjoy the company of great renaissance men, who were the crème of the crop and men who loved the world and are awed by the mystery of it all. Of course this is not the case, but we do have the greatest men in here, just far and spread out. I have put forth some effort and created a Philosophical dialogue online similar to this. I have invited all Masons from around the world who share an interest in Philosophy and the world to come and learn and give to the world of Freemasonry. My vision is to start the new renaissance. Poetry is a part of my life and I have written numerous poems, I have published 4 poems in a literary magazine. As a matter of fact, because of Freemasonry and the change that it did in my life I decided to go back to school and change my career towards Philosophy and teach college. Now I am not telling this because I want to sound crazy, but to show you how serious about this new movement I am and would be willing to help you in your endeavor. However, one thing that I don't have a lot of is time, so you let me know how I can help you and I am there. I will definitely contribute poetry on a regular basis. I will also put a plug in my forum.

Edwin Diaz (ediaz@siac.com )


Sister Betty Langenberg (B.Langenberg@kabelfoon.nl) contributed the following:

Dear Br. Owen,

I'd be delighted to join and help your idea to grow. It is high time, we did something like this. Between applause, critics and archives, there must be something I can do as well?

Contemplating this idea, it struck me that in the Masonic forums I am a member of, stories are going to and fro. Nice stories sometimes, but they will always stay stories, words, trying to explain the un-explainable. In poetry you can express your feelings more direct... Anyway, I do not think there is anything wrong with the title: Masonic Poets Society. Maybe Masonic Bards Association? MBS has a good sound in it. Thanks for writing to me, and looking forward to hearing from you soon,

Knuffels
Betty Langenberg

P.S. Speaking of Burns

A dreamer of the common dreams
A fisher in familiar streams
He chased the transitory gleams
That all pursue:
But on his lips the eternal themes
Again were new

-- The Tomb of Burns by Sir William Watson

Wouldn't that be grand as our motto?


The discussion is open and your thoughts are earnestly solicited.

RECENT POEMS

Upon the Establishment of the Masonic Poets Society

By Brother David Terrell PM, Smithfield Lodge 455, GL of Texas (davidterrell80@hotmail.com)


We are gathered to sing
Praises to the Craft.
Each of us to bring
Our voices to waft
Paeans to this sphere,
Rack'ed with strife,
Blood and fear.
To bring hope and life.
Eternal stories.
Smiles, tears and histories.
Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

Come Join In

By Brother Kenny Lawtie PM, Lodge Gordons 589 SC (kennylawtie@hotmail.com)

I joined the Masons their secrets to seek
My nose got the better of me and I had to have a peek
I knew someone who was" high up" a Past Master was he
I asked him "Could I join?" all he said was, "Well, I'll see."

A few weeks later, while enjoying a drink he handed me a form
"Read this first then fill it in." Apparently this is the norm.
He answered all my questions then told me about the entrance fee.
Then he said, "There's someone else here that you also need to see."

Then from behind there came a voice "So you want to join the Craft"
I swung around and saw my old mate, suddenly I felt quite daft
"I've been a Mason for many a year, I always thought you knew
Now I'll second your proposal because I think you can become one too."

As time went past my degrees I gained and a lot of things I learned
Each Degree had questions, never easy, each one had to be earned.
Lot's of help along the way was given without a thought
My problem was trying to remember all that I had been taught

Ever since that first step I've been a different man
I've tried to be a better person where and whenever I can.
The lessons that I learned in each different Degree
Are imprinted in my mind and will always be of great importance to me.

A lot of years have now passed; I've even been through the chair
I've joined some other orders and made even more friends there.
My face is more wrinkled and my hair has gone quite thin.
But I'll always be a Mason and encourage others to Come Join In.

Feast of St. John

By Sister-Mason Betty Langenberg

Again the feast of love is near,
And wherever we roam across this globe
Who once were given the masonic light
Will be united as one in here.

How much damaged and how fragile
Peace and security may be, those
Who came together on this day
Make their world into a rose

And inside the glowing white,
The chalice we make together
Is the mystery of a precious gift:

Altar of truth, eternal Light
A pure harmony of spheres,
How can any enemy harm us,
Who are together like this tonight?

Saying Goodbye to Brother J. B. Hutcherson PM

By David G. Terrell PM

We stand around the grave listening; nothing said...
"...performing the last duty the living can render the dead."
Shadows slide across the snow, as we gather once again...
"...mourning our Brother, summoned by the Father of all men."
My eyes leave the scene and drift towards the heavens...
"...considering the vanity of all earthly ambitions."
Brother Hutch was always there to teach a lesson...
"...more strongly binding us in friendship and union."
How do I say farewell?
"...leaving his spirit in the hands of Him who does all things well."
How can I hope to fill his shoes? Next to Hutch I'm but a youth...
"...cultivating the noble tenets of our profession-Brotherly Love,
Relief and Truth."


Poetic Studies

Masonic Poets Laureate, Part I

By Brother Owen Lorion (owenkl@nmmasons.org)

This is just the first draft, I hope, of what will become a more definitive study of Masonic Poet Laureates. And for the origin of that title, we must go to Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No.2 in Edinburgh, Scotland, which seems to have a prime claim to awarding that honor. Many references can be found to that lodge's bestowing it on Robbie Burns on February 1, 1787 and Rudyard Kipling in 1905. A somewhat smaller but still sizable number of sources also mention James Hogg, known as "the Ettrick Shepherd," on Jan 16, 1835. But there it stops. In all my researches, I've found only one reference, a single unsigned article issued by the lodge in 1924 and reprinted in the February 1925 issue of "The Builder," which listed the others who have held the office of Poet Laureate in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning. This has left me with a bit of a puzzle. Not only do I not have a list from 1925 to the present, but many of those before 1925 are unidentifiable. I'm still seeking any scrap of Masonic verse from these men, and eulogies of their lives, so that they're not simply anonymous names.

Here is the raw list with notes as they appeared in The Builder:

For some of these men besides the three noted at the beginning of this article, I was able to find writings, but nothing Masonic. And biographies should at least include dates of birth, death, and year they joined the lodge. Or if they were members - my researches are that both Burns and Kipling were honorary members only, who never visited the lodge except for their laureate conferrals - so I suspect others may have been outsiders also. Thank the GAOTU for the Internet; living out here in New Mexico as I do, my researching capabilities would be rather limited otherwise. But even so, I haven't been able to find much so far, and the search is still continuing. Here is what I have been able to find out:

And beyond 1924? A request has been sent as of May 2005 to C.J. McFadyen, Secretary of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No.2, asking for more information. Maybe the rest of the world will soon know...