Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Month: November, 2014

Spiritual Noise

Spiritual Noise

“Ambitious boys
Whose big lines swell
With spiritual noise,

Despise me not!”

–J.V. Cunningham

 

 

In his head, there was terrible weather.
Every tree there rolled off like a feather.
He had Sturm. He had Drang.
What a mental King Kong!
His lines rose — but did not come together.

 

 

–Tom Riley

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Post Mortem

Post Mortem

 

 

Beloved Beowulf, we who survive
call you to mind more often than we like
to say. When you were old but still alive,
we knew that you would shortly take a hike
into the realm of death. If dragons strike,
however, preparations shrink and fade.
You held the blade at last, and not the mike.
Your final words were brief and straightly made.
And we whom you had saved were new afraid.
Without you as our king, we were the prey
of all that could assail, destroy, degrade.
We knew that we had seen our brightest day.
We thought of you when you were just 18–
swimmer and legend, hero and machine!

 

 

–Tom Riley

Drums of Despair

The Drums of Despair

 

 

You beat the drums of my despair.
What forces have you set in motion
On land, on water, or in air?
You beat the drums of my despair?
The consequences won’t be fair.
They will exceed your every notion.
You beat the drums of my despair.
What forces have you set in motion?

 

 

–Tom Riley

Tiny Lie

Tiny Lie

 

 

On his conscience the tiny lie sat.
It was hardly the size of a gnat.
Yet it shifted a weight
grown increasingly great.
A mere elephant’s weight? More than that!

 

 

–Tom Riley

Eunt Omnes

Eunt Omnes

 

 

Everyone got to go except for you.
It wasn’t fair, of course we all agreed.
Out of the lucky, eligible crew,
Everyone got to go – except for you.
I wish that there was someone you could sue.
I wish there was some way now to proceed.
Everyone got to go except for you:
It wasn’t fair, of course. We all agreed.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Wrong Way

Wrong Way

 

 

I looked both ways — then went the wrong way.
About that choice, what more can I say?
Things I looked at were clear,
and I grasped the whole sphere.
Then I calmly spoiled all the world’s day.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Highest Score

Highest Score

 

 

I’m trying hard to beat my highest score.
(Of course, I score myself in everything.)
Because I’m not the guy I was before,
I’m trying hard to beat my highest score.
I’ve hopped and leapt and now I mean to soar.
I’ve been a prince – but now I shall be king.
I’m trying hard to beat my highest score.
(Of course, I score myself in everything.)

 

 

–Tom Riley

On Course

On Course

 

 

“Sir, this course you can never maintain!”
“Nonetheless, on this course I remain!”
“You cannot be persuaded?”
“Nay! My zeal hasn’t faded!”
“Then prepare, sir, for infinite pain….”

 

 

–Tom Riley

Lone-Nut Theory

The Lone-Nut Theory

 

 

(for Bruce Miroglio)

 

 

I myself like the Blakey theory best.
You know: the one where sparkling JFK,
the King of Camelot, just flunked the test
the Mafia applies. They stay away
from honest cops. Oh, yes — but on the day
a cop takes bribes or favors, then he’s theirs.
They’re not the kind of group you can betray.
They strike back. You’re the President? Who cares?
But I’m aware I’m just assuming airs.
My knowledge of the case does not go deep.
The details of the President’s affairs,
if I attend to them, put me to sleep.
Still, if you’re right, I feel resentment’s sting:
we lone nuts get the blame for everything.

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

Time to Mourn

A Time to Mourn

 

 

Now is the time to plan your day.
Later you’ll get to mourn your plan.
All the observing angels say
Now is the time to plan your day.
Don’t let your chance, lad, slip away!
Calculate failure while you can!
Now is the time to plan your day.
Later you’ll get to mourn your plan.

 

 

–Tom Riley