Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Month: November, 2013

Little Guys

Little Guys






They are grown – but no bigger than boys.

They choose always the largest of toys.

     If the beer’s really good,

     They drink more than they should.

Why do little guys make such big noise?






–Tom Riley

Firm Soul

Firm Soul






“I proclaim I shall never comply!

Your inducements I flatly deny—

     And I laugh at your threats.

     My firm soul never frets!”

“Jump!” they told him.   He answered: “How high?”






–Tom Riley

Markos Eucharistikos

Markos Eucharistikos



 (for Monica Tol)



The Wisest of the Emperors gave thanks

At the commencement of his self-directed

Notes.  On a firm foundation lay the planks

Of that impressive edifice, perfected

Not so much in the dots that it connected

As in the Heaven that it showed on high.

In his tent, as his body’s cells defected,

The Emperor revealed the brilliant sky.

Yet does his genius truly satisfy?

What he thanked was as vague as any cloud.

Equivocation?  No.  Still less a lie—

But who would shout that name of God aloud?

Those notes were glorious – yet somehow hollow.

The God Augustus thanked the God Apollo.



Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!




28 November 2013








Said the dignified poets: “Refrain

From the limerick!  It can contain

     Nothing worthy of reading.

     It’s a shameful proceeding.”

“But it does,” he maintained, “take a brain!”






–Tom Riley








St. Sebastian they shot full of holes.

Other saints had to roast on hot coals.

A hard time?  Well, of course.

Truth collided with force.

Anguish leads souls to heavenly goals.






–Tom Riley

Fix-It Man

The Fix-It Man






Broken web site?  His brain he’ll apply—

And soon fix it.  (Or some IT guy

     With an actual brain

     Will do that.  Don’t complain!)

But the promise was always a lie.






–Tom Riley

De Profundis

De Profundis





(for Cate Harmon)






The birthday of sophisticated Cate?

My greetings I must polish smooth, not bright—

For crudity’s what Cate’s disposed to hate,

And Cate knows that my own restricted light

Does not reflect much sunshine.  Get it right,

I tell myself, and dark won’t much offend:

Depths, if profound, reveal a sense of height;

With beasts it is a man’s part to contend.

So, Cate, let me admit, as I descend,

That, when I feigned perfection, I was sure

You saw my flaws, of which I know no end,

And excused more than most folks could endure.

What darkness does, indulgence dares outweigh.

Thinking of you just brightens up my day.





Happy birthday!





24 November 2013

Philosophy of Composition

The Philosophy of Composition





All things pass away.  That is their fate.

The small pass away.  So do the great.

     It is sure that someday

     You’ll pass wholly away.

But, until you do, mister, create!






–Tom Riley

Maleldil the Young

Maleldil the Young




(in memoriam CSL)




Lord, the minimum’s not what you do.

You expand and express.  Oh, it’s true!

     Though far older than old,

     Still you’re young: warm, not cold.

Year by year, Lord, I grow less like you.






–Tom Riley








Would I call her a bitch?  I contend

That I’d never descend to offend

     In that way.  It’s unfair!

     For such words I don’t care!

I would never insult man’s best friend!






–Tom Riley