Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: October

Goodbye to Ghouls and Goblins

Goodbye to Ghouls and Goblins

“By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore….”

To say that I’m no longer in the mood
For Halloween would be, of course, a lie.
Darkness comes every night. My attitude
Adjusts. Folks, I don’t even have to try.
October passes, though. The ravens fly
Off to poor Poe’s December. Comprehend:
Such guys as I at last must say goodbye.
Halloween comes, like all things, to an end.
It tears my heart in half – but hearts do mend.
Thanksgiving is a prospect I abhor—
But I’ll give thanks, declining to offend
The God that birds and Poe and I adore.
Everything to its right and proper sphere.
(I can’t wait till October 1st next year!)

–Tom Riley

October Heat

October Heat


It’s hot – but chilling things are on my mind.

A cold wind blows the glaring sun aside.

October’s here – so what a bitch to find

It’s hot!  But chilling things are on my mind.

With shades that will not rest I’m well aligned.

Deep in my inner night I opt to hide.

It’s hot, but chilling things are on my mind.

A cold wind blows the glaring sun aside.


–Tom Riley

Warring Dead

The Warring Dead


Soon war is coming to The Walking Dead.
October season should be spookier.
Negan and Rick, as leaders, have been led.
Soon war is coming to The Walking Dead.
Excitement, sure — but where’s the nameless dread?
We tend to yawn now when the walkers stir.
Soon war is coming to The Walking Dead.
October season: should be spookier.


—Tom Riley





What a dismal month! Halloween’s done!
On the axis of boredom I’m spun
by a wind with no voice.
Thus, I do not rejoice–
for the end of October’s no fun.



–Tom Riley

First of Halloween

The First of Halloween



(for Cynthia Sprowell)



Cynthia, it’s the First of Halloween!
I’m looking forward to a month of scares
so drastic that they’ll turn my freckles green
and rob me of my few remaining hairs.
I’m looking forward to unnerving stares
from ancient portraits hanging on the walls
of castles where I breathe unwholesome airs,
where vast bat hangs and deadly serpent crawls.
I’m looking forward to unearthly calls
from dark gods like Cthulhu. Am I mad
to want to court the madness? Judgment stalls
when Old Ones rise. But, still, I don’t feel bad
about the prospects of my fevered brain.
You’re just the same — and you’re supremely sane.



Fond regards,

Tom Riley

1 October 2014

October Country

October Country


(for John Bertolini)


Some of us love it best, this golden time.

Don’t suppose that we’re putting Christmas down.

But to the Christmas star we cannot climb.

It’s not for us to place the thorny crown

Upon an infant’s brow.  The emptied town,

And not the crowded inn, calls out to us.

The leaves are red and yellow, even brown,

And crumble underfoot.  Imperious,

The wind makes them an army.  It is thus

That we’re assailed by monsters whose existence

Is, on analysis, plain dubious.

Thus we embrace the shadow’s sheer persistence.

We do not think about it overmuch.

Soon enough, we will feel December’s touch.


–Tom Riley