Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Why This Is a Senryu and Not a Haiku

Why This Is a Senryu and Not a Haiku


I brought crickets to
the pond. Stubborn bullfrogs still
refused to inspire.


—Tom Riley

Don’t Be a Hater

Don’t Be a Hater



Of course, you’re not allowed to hate.
Hatred’s a violation of the rule
Our noble culture hails as aureate.

If you hate, you’re a scoundrel and a fool.
If you hate, you’ve become the willing tool
Of evil, and you soon will learn regret.
If you hate, you are frightfully uncool.
If you hate, you’re no righteous teacher’s pet.

Hey! Universal love is your best bet.
Embrace it warmly, brethren! Smooch its ass!
If you disdain this clever counsel yet,
Some vast disaster’s sure to come to pass.

Exception: given current vile events,
Hating McCain is simple common sense.


—Tom Riley

Height of Righteousness

The Height of Righteousness


Have you achieved the height of righteousness?
You have, sir, by agreeing with Mark Shea!
Another nifty Facebook post today
Proves he’s a modern prophet, more or less.
By “liking” it, you echo yes, yes, yes—
And to his grinning Facebook fan base say
That you are proud to join in this display
Of groupthink, quite as nice as a caress.
Have you attained the peak of charity?
You have — for Mark’s profession of the same
Warm virtue here where all the world can see
Is golden. To the multitudes proclaim
Mark’s glory as he chortles modestly!
You are a winner when you play this game.


—Tom Riley

Investigation Ends

The Investigation Ends


The detective chose wisdom instead
Of integrity. Why go ahead?
Why let unknowns proceed?
Truths — like victims indeed—
Are in some cases better off dead.


—Tom Riley