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Hello, dVerse poets! I hope you’re all well. It’s summer here in New Jersey, and while many people are vacationing or relaxing, I’m super busy—and I suddenly had to get a new phone today because mine decided not to work. But I have more memory and a better camera—Well, when it rains, it pours, but every cloud has a silver lining.

Yes, we’re going to be working with proverbs today. I read this post on Interesting Literature about the origins of the proverb
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Photo by caramelle bakery on Pexels.com

John Keats, for example, used a version of the proverb as an epigraph for his poem, “On Fame.”

"You cannot eat your cake and have it too"--Proverb

How fever’d is the man, who cannot look
Upon his mortal days with temperate blood,
Who vexes all the leaves of his life’s book,
And robs his fair name of its maidenhood;
It is as if the rose should pluck herself,
On the ripe plum finger its misty bloom,
As if a Naiad, like a meddling elf,
Should darken her pure grot with muddy gloom:
But the rose leaves herself upon the briar,
For winds to kiss and grateful bees to feed,
And the ripe plum still wears its dim attire,
The undisturbed lake has crystal space;
Why then should man, teasing the world for grace,
Spoil his salvation for a fierce miscreed?
--from John Keats, “On Fame”

This got me to thinking about proverbs and how poets incorporate them into their poems. I also noticed how often there seem to be proverbs with equally well-known opposite messages. I’ve listed a few below:

Many hands make light work.
Too many cooks spoil the broth

Birds of a feather flock together.
Opposites attract.

You are never too old to learn.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Stop and smell the roses.

He who hesitates is lost.
Strike while the iron is hot.
Look before you leap.

For this prompt, choose a proverb or a pair of proverbs. Use them as you wish—as an epigraph or within the poem. Be serious or funny. You can use one of the proverbs above or choose one of your own. Yes, they are often clichés, but that gives you a challenge to make your poem original, right? 😀 Make certain you clearly state the proverb.

New? Here’s what to do:
Write a poem that incorporates a proverb in some way. Make certain you state the proverb.
Post your poem on your blog.
Enter the link for that post (not your blog) into Mister Linky.
Read and comment on others’ posts.