Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Month: June, 2013

Ars Memoriae

Ars Memoriae







Oh, yes, sir: I remember you.

I wish you heartily in Hell.

Your oily smile provides a clue.

Oh, yes, sir: I remember you.

Sights I hate worse than you are few.

Plus, I cannot abide your smell.

Oh, yes, sir: I remember you.

I wish you heartily in Hell!







–Tom Riley

No Skipping

No Skipping






On your way, sir, to reading my rage—

Which is destined to humble our age

     And make demigods crawl—

     You weren’t thorough at all.

I am sure you skipped more than a page.






–Tom Riley

Good Influence

A Good Influence




(for Anna and Ben Hatke)





This morning: Wonder Woman at my door!

(She said she’d run.  Of course, she really flew.)

She was what all her fans insist – and more.

My heart accelerated right on cue—

And from my plans of evil I withdrew,

Governed by fear but also admiration.

My supervillain soul had not a clue

About its next destructive calculation.

Daughter of Paradise, Child of Elation,

If only I could see you every day,

I might not feed my raging indignation

On thoughts of making all the cursed world pay.

I might serve decency as bard and sage.

After all, Ben’s the hero of the age.




–Tom Riley

Hora Infirmorum

Hora Infirmorum






Now the weak are proclaiming their power.

This indeed is their fortunate hour—

     So the triumph is theirs.

     Our strength calls for repairs:

It is our part, as strong men, to cower.






–Tom Riley

Dumb Moves

Dumb Moves






I make lots of dumb moves when I can—

For such moves are all parts of the plan.

     Though I may crash and burn,

     Still observers will learn.

I’m advancing the knowledge of man!






–Tom Riley


The Realist



(for Erik Freelin)



Erik sneers at our imbecile hope.

He’s amazed at its depth and its scope.

     Things are bad, getting worse.

     Yet we say the reverse!

He’s agreeable – just not a dope.





–Tom Riley

Bizarre Mathematical Crimes

Bizarre Mathematical Crimes





(for Paul Rogers)





“You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,


Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.”









Crimes against algebra?  Professors sneered.

Crimes against calculus?  They said: “No way!”

But Mr. Rogers, just as students feared,

Has done it – and he’s doing it today.

The League of Super Math Brains in dismay

Retreats before his genius, fierce and wild.

And Mr. Rogers laughs at the display

Of math that he’s established: math defiled!

Next to him, Archimedes was a child.

Next to him, Einstein was the slave of rules.

As he surveys the blackboard, Joker-smiled,

He shakes the desks in all the little schools.

His plan is stark and subtle, dark and deep.

He’ll make the world of mathematics weep.




–Tom Riley

Test of the Click

The Test of the Click






On the Internet, sir, you don’t show.

I have searched your name.  Yea, even so!

     You I failed to discover.

     Therefore vast questions hover.

Do you truly exist?  I say no.






–Tom Riley








What I got were inferior powers.

Heroes think that my dark spirit cowers—

     But they’re wrong, oh, so wrong!

     My black heart is still strong.

In the time to come, my revenge towers!






–Tom Riley

Big Moment

Big Moment


(for Bailey Sciambra)


You had a moment, girl, with Johnny Depp?

The word is that you got his autograph.

In a girl’s life, that is a vital step.

I pay my homage here.  I do not laugh.

The loving Lord: He guides you with His staff

Into green pastures where good-looking guys

Are waiting.  Other girls may be the chaff—

But you’re the wheat, and great stars recognize

The difference.  Not a single one denies

The autograph you eagerly request.

Their consent swells to hypertrophic size

Because they realize that you’re the best.

By saying yes, they boost their fandom scores.

You got Depp’s autograph.  Did he get yours?



–Tom Riley