Light SayingsYahia Lababidi, the Pushcart-nominated poet and author from his Agni interview titled “The Prayer of Attention”

What are some of your favorite sayings that you use or have been passed on down to you?

I hold great admiration for people I’ve met on the way who can reel off any number of aphorisms or colorful one-liners at any one time. My favorites are the sayings so particular to a region that they could be from no place else. They often make me laugh because they’re so creative, even if I have no idea what they mean.

About the image: Visitors to Olvar Wood hang sayings on a light above a table each time they visit. (photo: Jason Nahrung/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)


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26Reflections

Reflections

Growing up in the Virgin Islands the sayings were rampant. My favorite, and the one that stops me regularly: "When dog got money, he buy cheese."

My Grandfather, a farmer in the US's Midwest, who raised a family during the Great Depression would often quote the bible, especially Proverbs. This being said, one of my favorite sayings wasn't drawn from that but rather his practical nature. "Too thick don't stick" he used in describing one's relationships outside of the family. He strongly believed in the power of family and wasn't necessarily cynical about friendships but knew some of the limitations.

I always swore that I would not use sayings, since as a child they seemed too simple, and as a teen too annoying. I caught myself, about the time my oldest turned 2, saying a number of them anyhow. We do become our parents. in some ways! I cling to "pick your battles" and "the world has not come to an end, right?". Perspective, perspective, perspective...

how many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?
four, calling a tail a leg don't make it one. Lincoln

My favorite from my dad who grew up in Savannah, Georgia, during the Great Depression: "Don't worry about the mule going blind, just load the wagon."

One of my favorite sanity savers is "Never rassle with a pig. You just get muddy and the pig likes it".

I find myself, during a little tiff, thinking or saying, "This is just a little battle, not a nuclear war." That stops it from being so important.

"The more you cry, the less you pee." -maternal grandmother

OK, I laughed out loud in my cubicle. I think the producers at Marketplace Tech Report are worried about me.

Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!

Granny- farm woman from Illinois~
There's just no sense in it.
People will drink from any muddy puddle when they're thirsty for love.
To whom much is given, much is expected.
Give my hands something to do so my heart won't ache so much.
Everyone is redeemable, even you.
Was you raised in a barn?! You act like a pig.

These are all so rich, thanks!

Hello, Trent, thanks again for excerpting my Agni interview, and using it as a springboard for this fascinating exchange! Kindly, find below, some Egyptian sayings. Below those, if you care for more, is a link to a selection of my own aphorisms.

Cheers, Yahia

The tyrant is only the slave turned inside out.

The archer hits the mark partly by pulling, partly by letting go.

If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains.

An onion shared with a friend tastes like roast lamb.

He who understands music understands the cosmos.

Yesterday's drunkenness will not quench today's thirst.

*
My own sayings: http://www.bu.edu/agni/essays/...

Busier than a one armed wallpaper hanger
She looks like she was sent for and couldn't come
Why buy the cow when the milk is free? (i.e. don't sleep around)
Remember who you are and whose you are
Darker than the inside of a pocket
....what fun!

My best friend will remind me of this when I'm facing something which seems insurmountable...her words echo in my ears, "small things to a giant."

Oh, and another: What you put up with, you end up with!

Has anyone encountered the game "Wise and Otherwise"? It is similar to pictionary with sayings. The makers provide an enormous amount of sayings, the first half is read to the group and everyone then writes their version of the complete saying, they are all read aloud, voted on. It is a wonderful exercise in wit and wisdom. A family favorite.

I used to hate it when I heard my friend say, "No good deed goes unpunished". It is amazing what you can see if you look for it, it is sometimes true....

idle hands are the devil's playground you can catch more flies with honey than with...
dont throw pearls before swine waste not, want not a penny saved is a penny earned
you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink
what goes up must come down s/he was on it like white on rice
what comes around goes around you dont always get what you want, but you get what you need an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure
measure twice, cut once look after the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves
like wolves in sheep's clothing tomorrow is another day FUN STUFF (universal truths)!

The higher the monkey climbs, the better everyone can see his a_ _.

Two from my grandmother:

There are never only two sides to a story.
And a similar one,
Nothing happens for only one reason.

Be sure all the bolts are in place before you begin tightening.
Remember the anti-seize.

(Anti-seize is special grease that lets you take things apart later.)
Good habits in the garage, but I think they apply broadly.

It's better to be kind than to be right.

This got me through 44 years of teaching in secondary ed.

We're a' Jock Thomson's bairns

I have absolutely no idea what this means!

We are all one family - the family of humanity. It's a Scottish saying.

Run to the roundhouse Nellie, they can't corner you there.

apples