Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: William Blake

Accidental Visionary

The Accidental Visionary

I polish my technique. It’s all I got.
Any profundity is accidental.
Am I a Blake, a Milton? I am not.
I polish my technique. It’s all I got.
I don’t reach for the stars. Well, not a lot.
I’m neither stoical nor sentimental.
I polish my technique. It’s all I got.
Any profundity is accidental.

–Tom Riley

Second-Raters

Second-Raters

Over and over, naturally, we say
The same damn things. Obsessively, we fiddle
With details of expression, with the way
That things are said. We glory in the riddle
That pitches obvious as near inspired.
In clever words, we make the old connection.
If we fail here, the reader says we’re fired.
But is such polish actual perfection?
I much prefer what I myself can’t do,
What Blake achieved in poetry prophetic.
Believe you me, I give myself the cue—
But my performance strikes me as pathetic.
What I produce will not survive my time.
But, what the hell, I sure know how to rhyme!

–Tom Riley

Moronic Mimesis

Moronic Mimesis

If the plagiarist
could steal God’s handiwork, he
wouldn’t even hesitate.

–Tom Riley

 

The Great Architect (The Creation) by William Blake

William Blake, The Great Architect

Inattentive Sky

Inattentive Sky

 

 

You’re whining at an inattentive sky—
But shout defiance and you’ll win a hearing.
The powers do not even wonder why
You’re whining at an inattentive sky.
They smile because they know their rules apply.
They often find inept complaint endearing.
You’re whining at an inattentive sky.
But shout defiance and you’ll win a hearing.

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

William Blake - The Complete Works - Inferno, Canto XIV, 46-72, Capaneus the Blasphemer ...

(William Blake, Capaneus the Blasphemer.)

Winged Beasts

Winged Beasts

 

“Now is the time for angels with flaming swords and winged beasts from the abyss.”

–Strelnikov

 

I love those guys, the angels and the beasts.

I love the way they slaughter and devour.

I love their fearful aspect and their power,

Their spiritual rants, their carnal feasts.

What has been preached but long deferred by priests

Is here at last – and I choose not to cower.

Howling, my arms spread wide, I greet the hour.

The compass spins.  So many wests and easts!

No, idle fancy’s not imagination.

It should be clear I’m howling from the heart.

I keep my station, having now a station.

I do not shield my petty life from art.

I cannot tell, with firm determination,

The angels and abysmal beasts apart.

 

–Tom Riley

 

 

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William Blake, The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea

 

Common Paradise

The Common Paradise

You want to reach the Common Paradise?
Annihilate your noble qualities!
You conquered, yes – but you were far from nice.
You want to reach the Common Paradise?
Let all your strengths be redefined as vice!
Stand not erect, but fall upon your knees!
You want to reach the Common Paradise?
Annihilate your noble qualities!

–Tom Riley

William Blake, Ulysses and Diomed

Prince

Prince

 

 

Some found your stuff outrageous — but I knew
what kind of strait-laced guy you chose to be
behind the showmanship. Clue after clue
signaled Miltonic rigor. Laxity
is never at the root of ecstasy–
and ecstasy, elation high and true,
was all you wanted us to hear and see.
You always did as William Blake would do.
I understood. I knew an angel flew
through every sky of possibility
your voice would contemplate, then raise anew.
You’d tasted fruit from life’s Edenic tree
like all of us — and, exiled, didn’t sue.
I’ll miss the artist known back then as you.

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

 

(Prince characterized as conservative Christian.)

Mock On

Mock On

 

 

“Who’s that mocking, Voltaire or Rousseau?”
“It’s impossible, dear sir, to know:
those two voices are one.
When you hear either, run!
You must not be the Deity’s foe.”

 

 

–Tom Riley

Humility

Humility

 

 

Humility is what I’m learning–
for that’s the task I’ve been assigned.
My proud and lofty nature’s burning
to rend the heart and calm the mind.
When vast temptations seek to enter,
let Christian virtue rule my center!
And let my quick blood not aspire
to devilish and stellar fire!
Let me eschew the wild example
of brilliant, iron-handed Blake–
who at his smithy dared to make
an elevation more than ample
out of the stuff of earth! I crawl–
the humblest fellow of them all.

 

 

–Tom Riley