Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: Book of Psalms

Joe Catholic

Joe Catholic


Et oratio eius fiat in peccatum.


Pretending Joe’s a super-Catholic guy
Is just about as silly as can be—
Too damn implausible to be a lie,
More a great scrap of imbecility.
Of course Joe likes to show his rosary.
Of course he likes to preen at morning Mass
For all the heathen media to see.
Of course the Jesuits will kiss his ass.
All flesh is, as the Bible tells us, grass—
And Joe’s scant flesh is overdue for mowing.
Still, what’s the focus of his fading sass?
The baby-killing party that he’s throwing!
His soul’s a writhing worm, his prayer a crock,
His place beneath a small infernal rock.


–Tom Riley


See the source image


(N.B. The hateful form of child sacrifice now denoted by the euphemism “induced abortion” is a crime offensive to the common decency of the human race, not just to the moral theology of the Catholic Church. All men and women of good will should oppose it. Bad Touch Biden and other putative Catholics who support this abomination are especially culpable only because they have been given such a clear and rational teaching by their religious authorities and therefore cannot plead ignorance. Arguably, they are guilty of betrayal as well as of violence – and will find their appropriate place in the ninth and lowest circle of Hell. However, I couldn’t bear to grant Creepy Joe the same dignity extended to Marcus Brutus. So I shoved his invertebrate psychic ass under a rock. May it rot there! TR.)




Devout Joe quotes the Palmist quite a bit.
Republicans should have respect for that
And not dismiss him as a brain-dead twit.
Devout Joe quotes the Palmist quite a bit.
He manifests his piety and wit.
Don’t let his exhortation here fall flat!
Devout Joe quotes the Palmist quite a bit.
Republicans should have respect for that.


–Tom Riley



(In Thanksgiving address, Biden pronounces “Psalmist” as “Palmist.”)

Pray for Shea

Pray for Shea


“And let Satan stand at his right hand!”


Pray for Shea, someone told me. I may–
but I’ll pray the Old Testament way.
Satan: stand at Shea’s right!
God of Hosts: smite — then smite!
Only then may Shea have a nice day.


–Tom Riley

High Evolutionary

High Evolutionary



“There was a sequence of increasing complexity and perfection, reaching its apogee, of course, in civilized man.”



–Alice Roberts, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being.



On my advanced state, I am getting high.
Behold my multitude of adaptations!
Look through the shiny window of my eye
And see my brain, the seat of cogitations!
How glorious my many complications!
How wonderful my placement under skies
That are mere planetary exhalations
And lack my human power to realize!
But, if you smirking, whiskey-bibbing guys
Challenge my evolutionary status
And suggest that my braininess ain’t wise
And offer your subversive queries gratis,
Look it up – and you’ll see that I am right!
The entry’s “Evolutionary Height.”



–Tom Riley



(Note: Some time ago, a Facebook friend started a thread on evolutionary matters, as viewed from a Christian perspective, and on his own thread posted the ludicrous comment that there was nothing in the universe more complicated than the human brain.

I reacted to this arrogant and unscientific formulation with the scorn that it deserved. I confess that I wasn’t thinking solely in evolutionary terms. It seemed clear to me that, however complex the human brain became, and, yea, even if it became the brain of the Hulk supervillain known as the Leader, it could never be the most complex object in the universe. My simple little brain told me that even the imaginary superbrain was only a part of the body, so that, if the brain was complicated, the body of which it was a part had to be even more complicated.

This is Aristotelian – and maybe even Scholastic – logic. But it’s not a bit less valid in its proper context for all that. It has all the overwhelming force of a geometric proof, at least as far as I can see.

And beyond this argument, of course, if you really know your Darwin, you know that all this humans-as-the-apex-of-biological-evolution stuff is ridiculous. Human beings are really rather undeveloped animals. No man can even take on a chimp in an arm-wrestle, let alone engage in hand-to-paw combat with a tiger. The human brain is much smaller than the elephant brain and presumably contains fewer neurons. Plus, if there’s life elsewhere in the universe, there may be biological brains many times as complex as any brain on earth. If humans are exceptional, it may be because of something in their brains – but it’s not because their brains are the most complex objects in the universe. Q.E.D.

I didn’t get to express my scorn in these terms on the Facebook thread. My Facebook friend abruptly cut me off. How was it possible for us to say that the human brain was the most complicated blah, blah, blah? My Facebook friend told me: “You could look it up!” Another participant in the thread – a science writer in the Boston area – appeared to think that I was some sort of naïve Biblical fundamentalist, as he imagined that category. More arrogance from the most complicated brains in the universe! He referred me to “The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being,” by Alice Roberts, as a place to start in revising my mistaken worldview.

And there my involvement in the great controversy concluded.

Now I know why my Facebook friend excluded me from the realm of acceptable discourse. He at least could not have supposed that I was unfamiliar with evolutionary theory. He understands that I know Darwin a lot better than he does. My Facebook friend was worried about something altogether other.

He thought I was going to go off on his science writer friend. He thought I was going to start pouring forth abusive Spenserian sonnets. “Contra me loquebantur qui sedebant in porta et cantabant bibentes vinum.” And, although I didn’t have this course of action on my mind when I was cut off, my Facebook friend was probably right. In the long run, that’s the kind of thing that I always do.

So was I too guilty of arrogance? Not at all. I went and did the assignment. I acquired and read “The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being.”

It wasn’t a bad book. It wasn’t something I really needed to read, since I already knew Darwin and his heirs pretty darn well. But it wasn’t a bad book.

And it was well worth the trouble for a reason that my Facebook professors didn’t even imagine. Dr. Alice Roberts turned out to be the most gorgeous biologist who’d ever directed a dissection. Ouch, that girl was a babe! I would be joyfully present in her lecture hall every day of the week, though I might have trouble concentrating on the class material.

Go look her up and you’ll see what I mean.

Besides, when I read the book, I found that my new evolutionary girlfriend – characterized as an “anatomist,” no less! – explicitly took my side in the brain controversy, not the side of my opponents. All that beauty and rectitude, too! In the passage quoted above, the Goddess of Darwinism is mocking the very arrogance that I sneered at! She’s dismissing it as a corruption of Darwinian theory. She too thinks that it’s positively imbecilic to say such things as, “The human brain is the most complicated object in the universe.”

And, naturally, since she agrees with me, she’s right.


Ad Dominum Clamant

Ad Dominum Clamant





“Clamaverunt nec erat qui salvos faceret ad Dominum nec exaudivit eos.”



–Ps. 17:42.





I heard you crying out, punk, to the Lord.

The Lord, however, knows you far too well.

You prayed that He’d establish sweet accord?

For you He has a special place in Hell.

With your voice, you have planned to cast a spell

Obscuring all the truths you just won’t face.

On God Most High, though, spells don’t work to quell

The justice bound to fill both time and space.

To God Most High, your magic’s a disgrace

Which itself merits endless punishment.

You’ve run fast, but you’re in the wrong damn race:

You sprint toward the unbearable event.

I do not need to give chase, iron-hearted.

It is enough to know I got you started.






–Tom Riley


The Victor


(In memoriam Jim Barrett, d. 14 March 2013)


Et exercitatus est tamquam dormiens Dominus tamquam potens crapulatus a vino.


–Ps. 77:65.


Some warriors raise legions.  You made wine.

Legions of Frenchmen hastened to confess

Defeat – and have a glass.  The grand design

Was realized.  Foes drank up your success.

To just such victories the Lord says yes.

Those beaten get to join the winning side.

Such piercing neatness solves the conflict mess.

Glorious is the triumph, wild the ride.

The giant, by your wine revivified,

Goes into action – and in victory

Can by his nature know no limits.  Wide

His arms are spread – and wide too may they be

For you, the gates by which souls enter in!

To see the grand truth clearly is to win.




–Tom Riley