Category Archives: WISDOM

In the coldest flint there is hot fire.


Ogden Nash :

A young person is a person with nothing to learn One who already knows that ice does not chill and fire does not burn . . . It knows it can spend six hours in the sun on its first day at the beach without ending up a skinless beet, And it knows it can walk barefoot through the barn without running a nail in its feet. . . . Meanwhile psychologists grow rich Writing that the young are ones’ should not undermine the self-confidence of which.

[Ogden Nash (1902-1971), U.S. poet. “Fortunately,” Versus, 1949.]

“Wisdom is one of the few things that looks bigger the further away it is.” ― Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

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Burned through the rain in the garden place

The rose of fuchsia’s drooping head,

Crimson of canna and cyclamen,

Snapdragon tall, in their close-set bed,

While the branches, etched with a stormy pen

Of mountain trees lay against the sky

To trip the witches as they flew by.

Mabel Forrest (1872-1935)

“Madness plants mirrors in the desert. I find the means frightening.” ― Floriano Martins

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“I asked him if it were a mirage, and he said yes. I said it was a dream, and he agreed, But said it was the desert’s dream not his. And he told me that in a year or so, when he had aged enough for any man, then he would walk into the wind, until he saw the tents. This time, he said, he would go on with them.”
― Neil Gaiman, Smoke and Mirrors

He has an oar in every man’s boat, and a finger in every pie.

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There were three sailors of Bristol city 
Who took a boat and went to sea. 
But first with beef and captain's biscuits 
And pickled pork they loaded she. 
There was gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy, 
And the youngest he was little Billee. 
Now when they got as far as the Equator 
They'd nothing left but one split pea. 

W. M. Thackeray: Little Billee.

“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.”

—Agatha Christie (author, Death on the Nile)
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Men made dogs, they took wolves and gave them human things–unnecessary intelligence, names, a desire to belong, and a twitching inferiority complex. All dogs dream wolf dreams, and know they’re dreaming of biting their Maker. Every dog knows, deep in his heart, that he is a Bad Dog…”

― Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

“The inauspiciousness of the owl is nothing but the inauspiciousness of the man who thinks that owl is inauspicious!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

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The Owls

The owls that roost in the black yew
Along one limb in solemn state,
And with a red eye look you through,
Are eastern gods; they meditate.

No feather stirs on them, not one,
Until that melancholy hour
When night, supplanting the weak sun,
Resumes her interrupted power.

Their attitude instructs the wise
To shun all action, all surprise.
Suppose there passed a lovely face, —

Who even longs to follow it,
Must feel for ever the disgrace
Of having all but moved a bit.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

Luck will carry a man across the brook if he is not too lazy to leap. Dan.

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“There is no more sagacious animal than the Icelandic horse. He is stopped by neither snow, nor storm, nor impassable roads, nor rocks, glaciers, or anything. He is courageous, sober, and surefooted. He never makes a false step, never shies. If there is a river or fjord to cross (and we shall meet with many) you will see him plunge in at once, just as if he were amphibious, and gain the opposite bank.”

Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

The silver swan, who living had no note, When death approached, unlocked her silent throat; Leaning her breast against the reedy shore, Thus sung her first and last, and sung no more: ‘Farewell, all joys; Oh death, come close mine eyes; More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.’ 1612 TheFirst Set of Madrigals and Motets of Five Parts,’The Silver Swan’.

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Renee Winegarten :

Old age cannot be cured. An epoch or a civilization cannot be prevented from breathing its last. A natural process that happens to all flesh and all human manifestations cannot be arrested. You can only wring your hands and utter a beautiful swan song.

[Renee Winegarten (b. 1922), British author, critic. “The Idea of Decadence,” Commentary (New York, Sept. 1974).]

Instruction penetrates the hearts of the good, but blows past the ears of the bad.

Superior men are good without instruction ; medium men are good with it ; but low fellows are bad despite of it.

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“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”
Abigail Van Buren

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The lion opens his mouth ; the elephant shuts his ; shut yours.

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“There is no creature among all the Beasts of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of almighty God as the Elephant.” Edward Topsell, The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes

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When you are shopping for a cow, make sure that the price of the tail is included.

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“To me the beauty of Ceylon lies not so much in its blue seas and golden beaches, its jungles and its mountain peaks, as in its ancient atmosphere. There is no nation, from Egypt of the Pharaohs to modern Britain, in whose literature this island has not at some time been mentioned by one or other of its many names…History lies buried in its sands, and ghosts of romance lurk among its bastioned rocks, for Lanka is very, very old.” D. J. G. Hennessy, GREEN AISLES, 1949