Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: vineyards

Napa Valley Heat Wave Sacrificial Urge

Napa Valley Heat Wave Sacrificial Urge

Sun above vineyards:
for cooler mornings, I’d almost
give up wine.

–Tom Riley

Messenger

Messenger

 

 

The raven sitting on the vineyard fence
Brings wisdom from a distant deity.

“Does the world have it in for you and me?”

Not really, says the One-Eyed God. Events
Proceed with an indifference so immense
That mortals welcome frank hostility.
It’s a gift they will never truly see.
They fool themselves, and that’s their recompense.

“Does every raven answer just the same?”

My fellow, with a semblance of design,
Declares the opposite. It’s not our aim
To force consistency on the divine.
In evenhandedness there is no shame.
Now quit your questions. Have a glass of wine.

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

 

(First Place, Napa Town and Country Fair, 2017.)

Omne Vinum Terra Est

Omne Vinum Terra Est

 

 

 

Wine was once earth, and earth is rich as wine.

Laborers in the vineyard understand

This truth, whose limits no tongue can define.

Made wine, the earth is ready to command

The hearts and hands that altered it.  Though planned,

The alteration never quite submits

To labeling.  Earth doesn’t need a brand.

It’s matter, but it gives the spirit fits.

Indeed, indeed, the craftsman bends his wits

Toward making something vastly satisfying

Yet subtle.  When he scores his greatest hits,

He knows a pride that lies beyond denying.

He also knows the rush that never lies,

The taster’s thrill, the spark of sheer surprise.

 

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

 

(Won First Place and Best in Division in the Napa Town and Country Fair competition, 2013.)

Influx of Skunks

An Influx of Skunks

 

 

 

 

Sometime in Spring, the male skunks cross the road

That separates the vineyards to the east

From my own property – and half explode,

For manmade tire is stronger than foul beast.

This year, I’m sure, the march of skunks increased.

For weeks, I smelled the corpses out in front.

The morning nose enjoys the same rich feast

Whether the skunk’s a giant or a runt.

A skunk’s not game the canny plan to hunt.

He likely thinks that cars should fear his scent.

He likely thinks a truck’s not worth a grunt.

He grunts, though, when the truck will not relent.

Crushed skunks smell worst.  I call Spring’s passage thus

Survival of the least malodorous.

 

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

(Won Fourth Place in the Napa Town and Country Fair competition, 2013.)