A Different Masonic Poet

March 11, 2017 Clark No comments exist

“Presented at Beacon Lodge #190, February 2017 – by Bro. Ben Richards”
Last month, our lodge hosted yet another Burns Night. On this night, we get to hear the Bill’s inimitable, unsurpassable Address to a Haggis. We contemplate the history of our fraternity; 250 years ago, there were lodges, there were masters, there were wardens.


We also remember the illustrious among our number; Sir Edward Appleton, Nobel-prize-winning physicists. Edmund Burke, statesman. Louis Armstrong, jazz giant. . . . and writers.


There have been a great many writers and poets among our ranks, and I will let you in on a little secret . . . they aren’t all Scottish!


Unlike Robert Burns, we in Alberta can lay a special claim to one in particular. Citizens of Medicine Hat can thank Rudyard Kipling, winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in Literature that their city kept its original name, Medicine Hat, instead of changing it in 1910 to the rather inadvisable “Gasburg.”


Rudyard Kipling became a Mason when he was yet underage. “They wanted a good secretary,” he later explained, “they did not get him.” Kipling is the voice of all that was bright, and dark, and noble, in the days of Empire. I think it is fitting to present one poem in particular this evening, with so many new Masons among us.


The Mother Lodge


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!

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