Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Strike

Strike

 

 

If it’s a triumph, they will take the credit–
but, if it’s a disaster, it’s all yours.
Their previous remarks they mean to edit.
Their lies are what their spirit reassures–
and that’s why their dishonesty endures
in spite of continents of evidence.
All their diseases are, they’ll tell you, cures–
and all their goofiness is common sense.
But don’t accept their version of events
even if it’s supremely popular.
Don’t rush to pick up any side expense.
Don’t praise their dope as if he were a star.
Answer with stubborn silence if you like.
Or, if you feel the call to strike, then strike.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Something Useful

Something Useful

 

 

I have done something useful. Hurray!
I have not wasted, friends, my whole day.
I have been more than ample
as hard-driving example.
And I just want to nap now. Okay?

 

 

–Tom Riley

Choosy Mothers Choose Choice

Choosy Mothers Choose Choice

 

 

She could not give a clear go-ahead
to her pregnancy: so the girl said.
Healthy child? Hey, no way!
Not in that dismal day!
So she served up a dead one instead.

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

(Girls star opens up about abortion.)

Garbage

Garbage

 

 

“The world is garbage I must haul!”
the supervillain dared proclaim.
“I don’t have any hope at all:
the world is garbage I must haul!
Producers: up against the wall!
Consumers: you will dread my name!
The world is garbage I must haul!”
the supervillain dared proclaim.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Wiseguys

Wiseguys

 

 

“I have awfully wise things to say!”
he informed us — and then spoke all day.
We attended awhile–
but declined to say heil.
When we could, we slipped wisely away.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Strong Man

Strong Man

 

 

Against Philistines, Samson made war–
till he got with that Philistine whore
and was shorn of his strength.
Hair grows back, though, at length….
(Mr. Milton can here tell you more.)

 

 

–Tom Riley

Big Figurative Sister

The Big Figurative Sister

 

 

Of her wisdom I’ve now had my fill,
but she’s giving me sage advice still–
and she just won’t butt out.
Kind and helpful? No doubt.
But ignore her I certainly will.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Alone and Palely Loitering

Alone and Palely Loitering

 

 

(for Maria Martin)

 

 

The Lady of the Wood we find in Keats
has robbed her prisoners of life and will.
With empty eyes the knight we question greets
our puzzlement. And he’s imprisoned still,
centuries later. Tears no longer spill
from eyes like those, compelled to view the void.
His malady transcends the merely ill.
His heart is overburdened, underjoyed.
But now by hope at last let us be buoyed
up — for Prof. Tolkien’s Lady smiles
even upon the Dwarf! Are you annoyed
by the effect of these contrasting styles?
Don’t be: Galadriel has sailed away–
and by this shore I loiter night and day.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Start

Start

 

 

Your new project? It’s time to begin.
Don’t reflect a whole lot. Just dive in!
There are no guarantees–
but delay’s a disease,
and prolonged hesitation a sin.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Needless News

Needless News

 

 

I didn’t really need the news.
I knew already: things were bad.
I understood the standard views.
I didn’t really need the news.
What was mine I would shortly lose.
What was it, really, that I had?
I didn’t really need the news.
I knew: already, things were bad.

 

 

–Tom Riley

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