Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Month: October, 2013

With a Wish

With a Wish






I’m changing human nature with a wish.

With hopeful words I’m altering your cells.

A monkey from a lizard from a fish?

I’m changing human nature with a wish!

Humanity is such a lukewarm dish

That it seems its ingredients are Hell’s.

I’m changing human nature with a wish.

With hopeful words, I’m altering your cells.






–Tom Riley

Homer Nodded

Homer Nodded






Homer nodded – and error crept in.

Make a list?  I won’t even begin.

     It was true there was error—

     But I view truth with terror.

To fault Homer is surely a sin.






–Tom Riley








“I have broken the code of the Lord!

The right reading at last is restored

     Of the Bible you read!

     Now, proclaimed, I proceed….”

“That’s more knowledge than we can afford.”






–Tom Riley


The Critique






I am cursing your flesh and your bone.

My contempt for your soul I make known

     In words vivid and strong.

     So I’ve done all along.

You respond that you don’t like my tone.






–Tom Riley








“Your name’s Stacy?  That means resurrection.”

So I told her from my vast collection

     Of obscure verbal lore.

     Stacy started to snore.

Any interest escaped my detection.






–Tom Riley

Future Football

Future Football




They will not play the game they used to play.

Everything will be altered by design.

Guys: no hard hits!  Please find a gentler way.

We can’t have violent impact on the line.

Speed and coordination?  They’re still fine.

Don’t be so good, however, that you make

Others feel bad.  If other players whine,

Adjust your skill and tactics for their sake.

It’s not for winning that your heart should ache.

Rather, play so that everyone feels good

At the end of the game – and undertake

To do as sports reporters say you should.

Don’t sack the quarterback: that hurts his head.

It’s better that you marry him instead.




–Tom Riley



(First appeared in Trinacria, Fall 2013.)

Work’s Done

Work’s Done






“The work’s done here, kind sir, and we feel

That of time you will waste a great deal

     If at this point you stay.”

     He replied: “What they hey?

The work’s done – but there’s credit to steal….”






–Tom Riley

Small Group Facilitator

Small Group Facilitator





The easy path will lead you to damnation:

It’s broad and smooth and really just a breeze.

I ask you, then: what is facilitation?

It is the action that lends greater ease!

You can’t escape here to uncertainties.

You can’t pretend it’s only words at stake.

You’re facile to exploit facilities.

You make souls fall asleep, not come awake.

Oh, won’t you give it up, for Heaven’s sake?

Put your group on the hard and narrow path!

Only thus they escape the fiery lake.

Only thus they escape God’s burning wrath.

If you intend to help them toward salvation,

You need to practice difficilitation.




–Tom Riley








“You’ll restore what was utterly lost!”

Said the Angel.  “On waves you’ll be tossed

     That have long gone unseen.

     You’ll find out what I mean.

And you’ll pay an unspeakable cost.”






–Tom Riley

Inescapable Combat

Inescapable Combat






“Inescapable combat I face:

Now’s the time, sir, and here is the place!

     Let us cease to delay!

     This gets settled today….”

He did not face defeat with such grace.






–Tom Riley