Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Month: December, 2014

J of H and C of F

J of H and C of F

 

 

Jesus of History, my voice cries out
to you! The Christ of Faith is what I reach
beyond the storm clouds of my daily doubt.
Jesus of History, my voice cries out–
and doesn’t quite know what it cries about.
Some of us are impossible to teach,
Jesus of History. My voice cries out
to you! The Christ of Faith is what I reach.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Superior People

Superior People

 

 

The superior people agree:
only some can receive liberty;
only some have the grace
to endure open space;
and that doesn’t include you or me.

 

 

 

–Tom Riley

Useless Mouth

Useless Mouth

 

 

Hey, I’ve eaten your bread and your cheese
and your apples and all your canned peas
and your chicken and steak.
But my innards still ache.
Do you own any feasts beyond these?

 

 

–Tom Riley

Christmas Surprise

Christmas Surprise

 

(for Bailey Sciambra)

 

What a surprise I had at Sunday Mass!
The edges of illusion shrank — and you
were there! Where I had wailed a dire alas,
I now thought: Frabjous day! Callay! Callooh!
Sounds of rejoicing should have been my clue.
General reverence should have been my proof.
I should have felt the current running through
the parish. But my spirit held aloof
until the evidence cried: Hey, you goof,
Bailey indeed is back — so your despair,
like a mere puff of smoke, can now go poof!
Lad, have a Merry Christmas — and don’t stare!
And thus it is: my heart’s no longer sick.
My threat to shoot a reindeer did the trick.

 

–Tom Riley

Skilled

Skilled

 

 

Lad, your technical skill is now keen.
You’re no longer a novice, and green
as a fine vine just sprouted.
But your aim must be doubted.
What the hell, we all ask, do you mean?

 

 

–Tom Riley

Missed Call

Missed Call

 

 

Someone called — but he answered too slow.
Someone called. Let the mystery grow!
Souls must sadly confess
faiths have blossomed from less.
Someone called. Who? We simply can’t know.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Artophage

Artophage

 

“He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”

–John 6:58

 

He was about to give his flesh to eat–
and what a scandal he would thereby cause!
Those words would rankle, strangely incomplete,
even more than the Pharisees’ hard laws.
Those words would give disciples sudden pause
century on offended century.
Even now, the offense, unblunted, gnaws
at those who find they simply can’t agree.
They offer rationales unceasingly
for their insistence that he didn’t mean
the words he said — for how can such things be?
The plain sense is unbearably obscene!
They squirm on hooks they can’t escape. Instead
of squirming so, I simply eat the bread.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Damn Eisenhower

Damn Eisenhower

 

 

Damn Eisenhower and JFK–
and all the presidents thereafter–
were evil in the same dumb way.
Damn Eisenhower and JFK
said Cuba’s tyrants must give way.
Now those same tyrants shake with laughter.
Damn Eisenhower and JFK
and all the presidents thereafter!

 

 

–Tom Riley

The Address

The Address

 

 

Now Obama addresses the nation
about issues that cause consternation.
His address will be brief,
and unforceful his grief–
for his mind’s on his coming vacation.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Listed

Listed

 

 

They have put you, my lad, on their list.
They have noted your face and your fist.
Your mind puzzles them still–
but they’re cursing your will.
Their sign says that you must not resist.

 

 

–Tom Riley