Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Month: September, 2013

Volunteer Leader

Volunteer Leader







You lucky guy!  A leader’s volunteering

To represent your hopes and your concerns!

You are not on your own, as you were fearing,

You lucky guy!  A leader’s volunteering

To lead you!  With his sight and with his hearing,

He’ll manage you, increasing your returns.

You lucky guy!  A leader’s volunteering

To represent your hopes and your concerns.








–Tom Riley

Ornamenta Marissae

Ornamenta Marissae


(for Marissa Amador)


Maxima ornamenta esse matronis liberos, apud Pomponium Rufum collectorum libro sic invenimus: Cornelia Gracchorum mater, cum Campana matrona apud illam hospita ornamenta sua pulcherrima illius saeculi ostenderet, traxit eam sermone, donec e schola redirent liberi, et ‘haec’ inquit ‘ornamenta sunt mea.’

–Valerius Maximus, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium, Liber 4.4



The matrons in receipt of all the riches

That Rome could grant a gal in that great day

Were thrice offended – imperceptive witches –

By beautiful Cornelia’s noble way

Of being free.  For her, no bright display

Of ornament, no boundless decoration:

Her pulchritude was there, and there to stay,

Admitting no adornment.  For her station

Was lofty, and her spirit’s aspiration

Exceeded all that craftsman’s art could add.

Her presence was sufficient celebration.

Her smile could drive a jealous goddess mad.

Oh, all that ostentation was for fools!

She nodded toward her kids: “These are my jewels.” 



Happy Birthday!




30 September 2013

Big Brain

Big Brain






We’re importing a really big brain.

Our dumb moves he will now re-explain

     As a brilliance exceeding

     The excuses we’re needing.

You will make your objections in vain.






–Tom Riley

Canis Sapiens

Canis Sapiens



(for Cynthia Sprowell)



Humans, of course – and clever ones the most—

Are caught up in the words that complicate

Everything they attempt.  A verbal ghost

Appears to them – and they can hardly wait

To flee or to embrace, to love or hate

What isn’t, if you see straight, even there.

What is there, if they see it, they see late—

And even then do not pretend to care.

When keen and canine senses are aware

Of fundamental actuality,

Humans discuss and dialog and spare

No eloquence – and just refuse to see

Or hear or smell existence clearly.  Maybe

That’s why they doubt a wise dog knows a baby.





–Tom Riley








“There is joy in the work that I do!”

He insisted.  Believers were few—

     For we saw in his eyes

     Mournful thoughts, weary lies.

He just stated his false joy anew.






–Tom Riley

Rhetoric Man

Rhetoric Man





Who once was Logic Lad has now become

Rhetoric Man!  He’s such a classicist

That those he dominates are stricken dumb

By his tremendous insights.  They insist

That you too mute the syllables you’ve hissed

As you presumed to practice disputation.

Rhetoric Man and all his fans are pissed

At your impertinent argumentation.

You should stand for the general ovation.

You should cheer for the common sense of awe.

Analysis and ratiocination,

As you pursue them, violate the law

That never yet required a written form.

Score telling points?  Ha!  You’re not even warm!





–Tom Riley

At the Mendacious Market

At the Mendacious Market







They sell you lies – and, buddy, are you buying!

You’d think that they were selling immortality.

Though they deny, there’s really no denying

They sell you lies.  And, buddy, are you buying!

You must smell something deeply satisfying

In all their tedious and cheap venality.

They sell you lies – and, buddy, are you buying!

You’d think that they were selling immortality.








–Tom Riley

Taste Treat

Taste Treat






With a smile that is truly malicious

And an intellect deeply suspicious,

     I pursue my sharp art

     Cold of eye, hard of heart.

Disapproval from you is delicious.






–Tom Riley

The Preacher

The Preacher






“I shall preach, in the morning, out loud.

Of my preaching I’ll humbly be proud.

     And my preaching will shine

     With the truth that is mine.

I predict, though, I won’t draw a crowd.”






–Tom Riley








An inflatable fellow named Tim

Said: “I don’t need to go to the gym.

     Simple air is enough.

     Pump me up and I’m buff.

Let a little air out and I’m slim!”






–Tom Riley