Category Archives: VIGILANCE

Beware the door with too many keys. Portuguese (on vigilance)

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 ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
 Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
 All mimsy were the borogoves,
 And the mome raths outgrave.
 “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
 The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
 Beware the Jujub bird, and shun
 The frumious Bandersnatch!”
 He took his vorpal sword in hand:
 Long time the manxome foe he sought —
 So rested he by the Tumtum gree,
 And stood awhile in thought
 And as in uffish thought he stood,
 The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
 Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
 And burbled as it came!
 One, two! One, two! and through and through
 The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
 He left it dead, and with its head
 He went galumphing back.
 “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
 Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
 O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
 He chortled in his joy.
 ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
 Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
 All mimsy were the borogoves,
 And the mome raths outgrave.


Look before you leap, For snakes among sweet flowers do creep.

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“You read any Greek myths, puppy? The one about the gorgon Medusa, particularly? I used to wonder what could be so terrible that you couldn’t survive even looking at it. Until I got a little older and I figured out the obvious answer. Everything.”

― Mike Carey & Peter Gross, The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

white people’ row ashore, ‘paddling with their backs to the way they were going’


Tu es mon compagnon de voyage!
Je veux mourir dans mon canot
Sur le tombeau, près du rivage,
Vous renverserez mon canot

When I must leave the great river
O bury me close to its wave
And let my canoe and my paddle
Be the only mark over my grave

‘Mon Canoe d’écorce’ (‘My Bark Canoe’) translated by Frank Oliver Call


Words are like the spider’s web: a shelter for the clever ones and a trap for the not-so-clever. Madagascar

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The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 25 May 1935

1 1 1 1 The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW - 1842 - 1954), Saturday 25 May 1935

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A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap.   African

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The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 11 June 1927,

1 1 1 1  The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW - 1842 - 1954), Saturday 11 June 1927,

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The problem with finding the easiest way, is that the
enemy already booby trapped it.

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He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard. Publilius Syrus

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Every stone has been turned, and every stone has been beaten into agreement that it is a stone, and every stone has vowed silence, every stone has agreed roundness or sharpness will be its predictable gift. Handle this stone, then, every day, and offer its dullness to the sky, sense its vigilance. This is the only way.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. – William Blake


Maka’ala ke kanaka kahea manu.

A man who calls birds should always be alert.

The Hawaiian alii (chiefs) wore beautiful capes and headdresses crafted by weaving in thousands of tiny feathers. The Kanaka kahea manu, the bird-catcher, would imitate bird-calls to attract the birds to catch them, pluck out a small number of tiny feathers and let them go. Once he had called the birds, he had to stay alert and be prepared to catch them quickly when they came near. The saying advises one who wishes to succeed to be alert to any opportunity that should arise.

Question: Mohlankana ya dulang lehaheng? (A young man who lives in a cave?) Answer: Leleme. (Tongue.)


Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu)

If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You can’t do anything without risking something.

Read more:

They’re calling from the wilderness, the vast and God-like spaces, The stark and sullen solitudes that sentinel the Pole.


Robert W. Service

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Date palm

stands sentinel

o’er scattered stones, and dreams

long dreamt of boneless soils well tilled

by settled soldiers

However big the whale may be, the tiny harpoon can rob him of life.



On the whales’ road

They found a Neanderthal skull in the North Sea,

shallow sea that was land.  Just a bone left,

shielded once in its skim of skin like the soft lives

running their course above on the whales’ road.

He’s his own message in a bottle, delivered by sea

as the fire takes messages to the questionable gods.





A fortress on its guard is not surprised.


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Lies are a little fortress; inside them you can feel safe and powerful. Through your little fortress of lies you try to run your life and manipulate others. But the fortress needs walls, so you build some. These are the justifications for your lies. You know, like you are doing this to protect someone you love, to keep them from feeling pain. Whatever works, just so you feel okay about the lies.



The hardest person to awaken is the person already awake. –

– Tagalog (Filipino)

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“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

― Eckhart Tolle

Simply stated, it is less me and more we.

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“Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’

If I do something,

what’s the most terrible thing that could happen?

Would I be eaten by wolves?

One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.”

― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Buy no cats in bags. (Belgian)

"The Antiquity of Proverbs: Fifty Familiar Proverbs and Folk Sayings with Annotations and Lists …"


Did St. Francis really preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.
Rebecca West

foto – black cat in raleigh 2010

I am a bird , behold my wings.

A Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations



Birdland – A Poem

from Eldred

Guitar riff,  as a thorn-winged plover screechingly
messerschmitts magpies and butcherbirds,
bluff-diving to protect his nesting mate
Busily disputing their noisy offspring.

The Soul, unmov’d by Love’s inspiring breath. Like lazy Waters, stagnates and corrupts.

"Moral Emblems, with Aphorisms, Adages, and Proverbs, of All Ages and Nations"


Ang Owang nga matulog Paga dad-on sa solog.
A sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.

foto – fixing the rigging at sail urunga

(Akinasu wa yome ni kuwasuna) Don’t let your daughter-in-law eat your autumn eggplants. Meaning: Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of.


A certain man, on hearing that God would care for those who relinquished all their possessions, left his home and retired to the desert where he gave himself to fasting and prayer. On the third day of his retirement he observed many horses laden with baskets of bread passing over a distant highway. Seeing a loaf fall from one of the baskets, he waited and then cautiously dragged himself over the ground to the spot. Seizing the bread he began to eat. As he did so he re peated to himself: "Yes, it is true, God gives bread, but we must creep along ourselves to get it."

"Curiosities in Proverbs: A Collection of Unusual Adages, Maxims, Aphorisms, Phrases and Other …"

foto – izzy foreal and his friends at the workers’ cottage 2010