The Compasses & Square

The original version of this poem was written in 2003 or a little earlier. After years of it being misplaced, I recently stumbled upon it. I’ve made a few improvements to the meter and rhyme, but it is very much the same poem as before. All the imagery and themes remain, and it has kept the symbolic numbers of 4 lines per stanza, 7 syllables per line, and 12 total stanzas.


Upon the Masons’ altar
Rest the Compasses and Square,
Two cherished Vs of metal
Shining rays into the air.

The sturdy V of virtue,
The right angle of the Law,
Is the guide of every man
Who has grasped the Lion’s Paw.

And look upon the altar
From the mystic place of Light;
There you’ll see the other V
Beaming, glorious and bright.

The straight arms of veritas,
Reaching out toward the west,
Are open to each Mason,
For upon the Square they rest.

And though it’s not a custom
That most Masons’ lodges hold,
These tools are precious metals —
One is silver, one is gold.

For on the Master’s Carpet,
EA’s Porch and Craftsman’s Steps,
We can discern the ciphers
Of alchemical adepts.

They speak to us with symbols
Of Hermetic skill and art,
Of secret transmutations
In the furnace of the heart.

Thus, within the first degree
We identify the stone;
Attaining its perfection
Is a miracle alone.

Up in the Middle Chamber,
A Craftsman there exposes
The intertwined triangles
Of qabalistic Gnosis.

Then each true Master Mason,
A great myst’ry he’ll behold;
Rising to the Compasses
Turns his silver into gold.

And though this explanation
Is not often brought to light,
You can see it for yourself
With the eye of inner sight.

So brothers please be mindful
Of the Compasses and Square,
Those Vs of precious metal
Shining rays into the air.

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