Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: poem

Dracula (by Basho)

Dracula (by Basho)


How disappointing!
So many vampire hunters
managed to survive!


–Tom Riley


Dracula (1931 Spanish-language film poster).jpg

No-Wait Service

No-Wait Service

Lad breathed his sense of beauty to the night.
The succubus was not long in appearing—
And, flexible, that demon looked just right.
Lad breathed his sense of beauty to the night—
And something heard. That somethings was a sight
And all its affectations were endearing.
Lad breathed his sense of beauty to the night.
The succubus was not long in appearing.

–Tom Riley





You forgot to go back and rewrite
what was wrong. You forgot that the light
is obscured by stray words
that become mindless herds.
Now you’ll never, I fear, get it right.



–Tom Riley

Idle Hope

Idle Hope



He is hoping your crew has discussed him
in hushed tones, that perhaps you have cussed him,
safely out of his hearing.
But his hope’s disappearing.
He’s achieved one result: you don’t trust him.



–Tom Riley

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (Short Version)

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (Short Version)



When they’re shaped by the sly M.R. James,
tales are dry. Guys with scholarly aims
lead their scholarly lives.
Then the terror arrives–
and their learned games cease to be games.



–Tom Riley

Republic of the Snakes

Republic of the Snakes



Cum autem immundus spiritus exierit ab homine, ambulat per loca arida, quaerens requiem, et non invenit. Tunc dicit: Revertar in domum meam, unde exivi. Et veniens invenit eam vacantem, scopis mundatam, et ornatam. Tunc vadit, et assumit septem alios spiritus secum nequiores se, et intrantes habitant ibi: et fiunt novissima hominis illius pejora prioribus. Sic erit et generationi huic pessimae.



Hey, Paddy! The Republic of the Snakes
gives thanks to you: you shaped our polity.
What you did, lad, you did for others’ sakes–
but we have reaped the benefits. Oh, see
how, out of your Green Isle, we easily
multiply in the hearts and minds of men
and women! No impossibility
imposes. We are more than we were then.
And we’re invading Ireland once again.
What you drove out returns now sevenfold.
That loveliness will once more be a den
for our unblinking kind, whose blood runs cold,
whose poison can dispatch both small and great.
Remember, lad: we always lie in wait.



–Tom Riley



The Walk









Titanic Mr. Tangle takes a walk.

He’s standing up for principle, you know.

It was just last week that he gave a talk

On principle and how we ought to show

Respect or something for it, lest we grow

Lukewarm.  Or did he give that talk last year?

“What we desire to reap we have to sow!”

He knows he said that once and was sincere.

Oh, well, at least the proper atmosphere

Fills his vast lungs as he proceeds along

The proper route.  At least fans see he’s here

And know that, while he walks, he’s standing strong.

What he forgets is not all that dismaying.

He takes another stride.  What was he saying?








–Tom Riley




(First appeared in Blue Unicorn, v. 37, n. 1, October 2013.)

Sex Change

Sex Change



Not only does Obamacare finance

Such things, but now Barack is hot to get

Transgendered personnel – in skirts? in pants? –

Serving our country.  Yea, the tranny set,

After their operations, will be met

On battlefields by fierce and foreign foes!

The alteration we will not regret.

We’ll be well served by soldiers such as those.

They will intimidate in panty hose.

They will inflict defeats in brief black dresses.

And, back at home, if disapproval grows,

They will mop up right-wing domestic messes.

Let’s seize the tranny future while we can!

Maybe that way, Barack can be a man.



–Tom Riley

Pugnavit ad Bestias Ephesi

Pugnavit ad Bestias Ephesi



He struggled with the beasts of Ephesus.
Since he’s a saint, we all assume he won.
But maybe beasts emerge victorious
in their own ways, so that not everyone
can see their march.  The unforgiving Sun
watched all those contests from his lofty place.
His fiery heart rejoiced in what was done.
He was concerned with matter, time, and space.
And what did Paul possess?  The life of grace,
the keen edge of the Deiverbal sword,
and the command to reach race after race
with the news of the Resurrected Lord–
these were his weapons, terrible but strange.
What makes you think he moved the beasts to change?



–Tom Riley

Sleeper Wakes


The Sleepers Wake





Have I made a boneheaded mistake?


Those who might have observed aren’t awake:


they snore on, as fools do.


When they wake, I’ll blame you–


which is icing on my chocolate cake.





–Tom Riley