Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Interior Courage

Interior Courage

 

 

“Lad, you look like you’re trying to hide
From a threat just about to collide.
Oh, you’re boiling with fright–
though there’s no threat in sight!”
“Hey, I’m brimming with valor inside!”

 

 

–Tom Riley

Lessons

Lessons

 

 

I’ll admit to the lessons I learned
And acknowledge the insights discerned
At the close of the class:
The professor’s an ass–
And his acolytes ought to be burned.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Pearl of Great Price

Pearl of Great Price

 

 

The parable is ripe for explication–
But explication isn’t what I seek,
O Lord. I seek what’s solid and unique,
What makes the parable a new creation.
You who shaped every stunning iteration
Of themes in history that make us freak
Are only truly known beyond our weak
Attempts at context and at explanation.
The pearl of meaning is, it seems to me,
Of far less value than the pearl of wild
And irreducible reality,
Its fangs unbrushed, its manic hair unstyled.
To explications I shall not agree.
I will not hear the mystery reviled.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Discourteous

Discourteous

 

 

I’m praying for your exit — but you stall.
You lack the courtesy to disappear.
You think that we’re conversing? Not at all.
I’m praying for your exit, but you stall
The process. Mere delay can be a wall,
And an unwelcome grin can be a spear.
I’m praying for your exit, but you stall:
You lack the courtesy to disappear.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Long Considered

Long Considered

 

 

He “considered” it, eh? Did his eyes
Stray to masculine ass? Did his sighs
Long for manly embraces?
Did he like bearded faces?
What, Obama — gay? What a surprise!

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

 

(Book says Obama “considered” being gay.)

Set It Right

Set It Right

 

 

When everything goes wrong, my lad,
It’s not your job to set it right.
Oh, never let it drive you mad
When everything goes wrong, my lad!
The quiet mind is not a fad.
Earth’s mists don’t reach the stellar light.
When everything goes wrong, my lad,
It’s not your job to set it right.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Classicist

The Classicist

 

 

Greco-Roman stuff, he wants to say,
He has mastered. He’s quick to display
This vast knowledge to you.
He expects applause, too.
He’s read all of Rick Riordan. Hurray!

 

 

–Tom Riley

Big Choice

The Big Choice

 

 

No complaints now. You had your last chance.
But you took a lame moderate stance.
Now the threat will expand–
As jihadists have planned
For long centuries. Sad. So long, France.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Ingratitude

Ingratitude

 

 

On the council of scholars he sits,
Thinking students will read in his shits
Lessons stunning and new.
“Hey, I’m shitting for you!
Your ingratitude’s giving me fits….”

 

 

–Tom Riley

Barbarus Superbus

Barbarus Superbus

 

 

Your spiritual empire is expanding–
But I remain a proud barbarian.
It’s universal prayer that you’re demanding.
Your spiritual empire is expanding
Beyond all bounds, beyond all understanding.
But I’m a convert you will never win.
Your spiritual empire is expanding,
But I remain a proud barbarian.

 

 

–Tom Riley