Are you planning a Masonic funeral for your loved one? You may know about the rites and traditions of Freemasons if your loved one has been a Mason for a long time. Although Freemason ceremonies rarely open up to the public, the funeral of a deceased member does.
Read through some poems appropriate for your loved one’s funeral. You may choose to have the poem read as a part of the service or choose to publish the poetry in the funeral program.
1. “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Looking for a popular funeral poem for those who served in the Navy or enjoyed life on the water? Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar” could offer a great option. The speaker in the poem asks family and friends not to feel sad.
2. “Soft and safe be the earthly bed of our brother; bright and glorious be his rising from it” by Unknown
Although this funeral poem seems to have no title, the unknown poet created a poem popular for Masonic funeral services. It continues: “Fragrant be the acacia sprig which shall flourish there. May the earliest buds of spring unfold their beauties over his resting place, and, in the bright morning of the world’s resurrection, may his soul spring into newness of life and expand into immortal beauty in realms beyond the skies. Until then, dear friend and brother, until then — Farewell!”
3. 23rd Psalm
One of the most often-quoted Psalms, this one gives comfort to many. It begins, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
4. “The Bridge Builder” by Will Allen Dromgoole
An older man builds a bridge after crossing the vast expanse. Someone questions him as to why he would create such a bridge after crossing the divide. The speaker says,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
This poem can give tribute to the acts of service the deceased performed in the course of his life.
5. “There Is No Death” by J.L. McCreery
This lengthy poem describes how even in the natural world, things that die really just change form. It includes the stanza:
“They are not dead! they have but passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere.”
6. “On the Burial of a Member of the Order of Odd Fellows” by Harriet Annie Wilkins
The brothers in this poem promise to meet their deceased friend in heaven.
“When the chariots fill the air,
Brother, may we meet thee there!
When the earth’s firm walls are riven,
Brother, may we meet in heaven!”
7. “A Freemason’s Prayer” by Dan Goldstein
The poetically written freemason's prayer deserves a spot on our list. In it, the speaker vows to uphold all the principles that Freemasonry describes, such as “truth and love and justice, with morality and trust.”
8. “Adieu, A Heart-Warm Fond Adieu” by Brother Robert Burns
Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most famous poets, was a member of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Scotland. People sing one of Burns’s most famous pieces every year at the dawn of a new year: “Auld Lang Syne.”
9. “Brothers, We Remember” by Brother Bob Webber
This poem offers a tribute to fallen soldiers and may offer an appropriate choice for a Mason who also served in the military.
10. “A Bag of Tools” by R.L. Sharpe
This short poem asks the reader to think about his legacy. It reads:
"Isn’t it strange
That princes and kings,
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings,
And common people
Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, A book of rules;
And each must make —
Ere life is flown —
A stumbling block
Or a stepping stone.”
11. “A Brother’s Hand” by George B. Staff
While most funeral poems speak about the deceased’s life, some verses may comfort those in mourning. This poem suggests that those burdened with sadness should turn to their fellow brothers for relief.
12. “A Mason” by Carl W. Mason
This poem celebrates a mason's life of servitude.
13. “A Real Mason” by Frank F. Baer
Was the membership of a deceased Mason more to him than wearing a pin or paying dues? Celebrate the authenticity of this person by reading “A Real Mason” at his services.
14. “Builder’s All” by Unknown
If your loved one made significant contributions in the course of his life, you might want to print this poem in his funeral program.
15. “The Work” by Brother Montford C. Holley
Celebrate the nobility of work with this poem by Brother Montford C. Holley.
The concluding statement implies that a Brother keeps contributing to the very end of his life:
“The master speaks,
The work is done:
The gavel sounds,
God calls us home.”
16. “Why Did You Knock?” by Ezekiel M. Bey
Describe why your loved one devoted so much of his time to the Masons by sharing “Why Did You Knock?” at the funeral services.
It includes the stanza:
“The mysteries, of arts, of mind
Philosophies that prove divine
To seek and learn the lessons told
Improve yourself, a voice had echoed.”
17. “Tools of the Craft: The Compass” by Brother Shawn Eyer
Who holds your life’s compass? According to this poem, the “invisible, eternal hand” holds your life's compass.
18. “The Working Tools” by A.S. MacBride
Did your loved one dedicate his life to acts of service? This poem describes the tools a person needs to improve the lives of others.
19. “The Trowel” by Michael N. Salmore
As you can tell by the poems already listed, a central theme in Freemasonry involves building. Although it involves the physical act of leaving something behind for others, “building” can incorporate a metaphor as well.
20. “The Square” by Brother R.J. McLaughlin
Building tools like the square take center stage in this poem:
“Square of Virtue for our acts
Wherewith to set them true,
Can make a building, standing quite
As worthy in our children’s sight,
And in the Master’s, too.”
21. “The Model Mason” by Robert Morris
Was your loved one a “model Mason," or “genial, wise and true?” To continue the poem, “Their works — they’re numbered all in heaven, those deeds of charity!”
22. “The Master’s Apron” by Brother Robert Burns
Poet Robert Burns says that he'd rather have no other badges of honor other than the apron of a Freemason.
Other Tips for Planning a Loved One’s Funeral
Planning a memorial service for a loved one deserves great thought and consideration.
Instead of planning a cookie-cutter funeral, think about what choices you can make that celebrate the individual you loved.
If you must write the eulogy, think about the essence of the individual. Ask others to contribute as you gather stories. Choose music that would have been meaningful to your loved one. Serve your loved one’s favorite foods at the meal following the service and pick a meaningful poem to print in the funeral program.
- “Masonic Poetry and Prose.” http://www.themasonictrowel.com/indexes/index_masonic_poetry.htm