Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: Petrarchan sonnet

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Constantius said it first.  It was a sneer—

But history embraced it as high praise.

Against the world in those uncertain days

You stood for what the future would hold dear,

O lonely pillar of the truth!  In fear,

Others adopted temporizing ways.

They would have lost themselves then in the maze

That sprawled throughout the explication sphere.

You saved them – and you did it with a roar.

Politeness was a lie you wouldn’t tell

When faced with doctrines hopeless at their core.

You judged your adversaries by their smell.

You lashed out fiercely at their pointless lore.

The world that you opposed went straight to Hell.

–Tom Riley

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Things We Say to God

The Things We Say to God

The things we say to God, as we suppose,

Are formal prayers acquired at mother’s knee—

Expressions of a polished piety

And of the truths that everybody knows.

Oh, we repeat them – and how vast it grows,

Our confidence!  Expanding steadily,

It calls on every child’s heart to agree.

We’re warmed by an inheritance that glows.

But, in reality, the things we say

To God are exhalations of despair,

Obscene or wordless as the mindless day

Crushes the plans we’ve made.  The earthly air

Doesn’t cringe at the anger we display.

We stub our toes and order God to care.

–Tom Riley

Popeye Forearms

Popeye Forearms

AOC’s got a skinny-forearm beau.
I’m asking: what is wrong with guys these days
And with the gals who choose them? Time betrays
What’s timeless. It’s impossible to know
How low the standards finally will go.
Is this delight in girly men a phase?
Or will we say again that muscle pays?
Suspense strikes deeply as I watch the show.
Hey, AOC: my name is Riley, too,
But I have Popeye forearms, more or less.
(It’s true I lack the maritime tattoo.)
Do I like Puerto Rican girls? Hell, yes.
But then again, there’s pillow talk from you….
I wish your current boyfriend all success!

–Tom Riley

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Bountiful Lard Mutters

Bountiful Lard Mutters

Who’s backing Black Lives Matter? Mark P. Shea!
He’ll back them just as long as they’re in style.
You claim his motivations here are vile?
That’s something that you’re not allowed to say!
Shea is the foremost prophet of our day.
His insights are not subject to denial.
His holy channel rocks! Don’t touch that dial!
His virtue signals ain’t just vain display.
But back to Black Lives Matter. Hey, they’re cool—
And therefore for Mark Shea a perfect fit.
He judges you a damned and hopeless fool
If you do not agree, you skinny twit!
Black lives are due for Christianoid renewal.
They need a Fat White Savior – and he’s it.

–Tom Riley

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Ill Dreamt

Ill Dreamt

“We dreamt of you!” they told him in his dream.
“At any rate, we dreamt of one like you—
One who would, as a revenant, pursue
Our bones past every noumenal extreme
Into reality. Our vibrant team
Got right to work, as threatened creatures do.
Ideas, happily, were far from few.
We’re ready for your horror movie scheme!
Our sacred objects now we elevate!
Upon their fiery glow will you be fried!
We chant our orisons! Ha! Feel their weight!
Our studied piety can’t be defied!”
He woke then, overwhelmed by all their hate—
And was, as monster, truly terrified.

–Tom Riley

Wilhelmina Wilson

Wilhelmina Wilson

Like William Wilson, our lad had a foe.
His hostile doppelganger drove him mad
With hatred of himself. Yes, it was sad
To see that both of them just had to know:
Self is the dam that interrupts the flow;
Self is the fact of which self can’t be glad;
Self is the frowning and demanding dad;
Self is the tunnel down which self must go.
But then our hero’s nasty opposite
Thought of a way to make the conflict cease:
Transitioning from mirror-image twit
Into a gorgeous babe, Ligeia’s niece!
May I as reader here pick just one nit?
More horrible than war is such a peace.

–Tom Riley

Nimrod’s Tower

Nimrod’s Tower

They strive to show how much they love the pope—
This Commie pope, whose errors multiply
Faster than any laboratory fly.
In his escape from reason, they find hope—
And with his babbling they are proud to cope.
Does Nimrod’s tower rise indeed? How high?
Curial pederasts must now deny
This project of the mouthy papal dope.
Confusion is, of course, on all their tongues.
They press ahead, which means they fall behind.
They mean to drag their asses up firm rungs
But find the promised ladder realigned.
The virus fills their souls, not just their lungs.
I’m glad their pontiff doesn’t have a mind.

–Tom Riley

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Revenge of the Nerd

Revenge of the Nerd

How can this sissy general at last
Be victor in a battle fiercely fought?
True victory, of course, cannot be bought.
Achilles sprints. Thersites, far outclassed,
Would love to see the godlike hero passed,
Would love to see his greatness brought to naught.
But such an outcome, furiously sought,
Is never given to the candy-assed.
The only contest possible is bitching—
But even there there’s way too much to dread.
The hero might undo some bio-stitching
And paint the field with hemoglobin red!
That’s why the current option’s so bewitching:
Ty Seidule will bitch against the dead!

–Tom Riley

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Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley

Indeed, I thought I stumbled there by chance—
Into that hidden valley. Do you claim
Knowledge, sir, of the place or of the name?
Then I assume a plaintive, humble stance.
Help me to understand how winds advance
There as in no place else, how wings go lame
Overhead, how perception is a game
Minds cannot win, how legless beings dance!
I thought it was a crippled crow that croaked
To me: “You’ll comprehend, when you are wise,
That hard necessity serenely joked,
Impersonating chance amid your cries.
Rains of malevolence have left you soaked!”
But that crow stared at me with silver eyes.

–Tom Riley

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In Caelo Regnat

In Caelo Regnat

 

What reigns in Heaven can’t be written down.
No text can bind that all-pervasive fire.
For what’s above some feel a fierce desire—
But composition, lad, makes you a clown
Wearing an idiotic parchment crown.
If you would hear the Gods’ transcendent choir,
From literary efforts please retire!
In alphabetic oceans cease to drown!
Cease to indulge your yen for definition:
What can be put in writing shouldn’t be
If actual enlightenment’s your mission.
Don’t dare encumber immortality!
Be wordless in your pertinent contrition!
Sign here, lad, if at long last you agree!

 

–Tom Riley