Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

Sun Tzu was a military strategist, writer and philosopher in Ancient China. Some believe his writings are essential in understanding Chinese  political motivations and expansion, in modern times.  But does Sun Tzu’s proverbs have meaning for us in our  present day lives? What, if anything can we learn from this quote? What do you think about opportunities? Do you create your own or are you merely a passive agent?

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

-Sun Tzu


The quote this week comes from another historical figure; this time from the West. Battling the hierarchical medical and military fraternity of her time,  and for that she must have had intelligence, determination, and perseverance.

This is what Florence Nightingale had to say of her achievements: –

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”

– Florence Nightingale


Is there a lesson in this, for us? What do you think?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.


Proverbial Friday – Something thought provoking to Ponder About


Monday Mystery Photo – Last time Western Australia

Every second Monday, I post a photo of a ‘mystery’ location, and sometimes a mystery object.  I invite you to leave a comment if you think you know the location, or what the mystery object might be. If you guess correctly, I will link back to your blog in the follow-up post, when the answer is revealed. Comments will be released on alternate Mondays (Australian E.S.T.), so as not to spoil the fun for late-comers to this post.

N.B. If you have a travel photo you would like featured on Monday Mystery, please leave a comment  below, or contact me by email, [find this at my Gravatar and Profile info].

The mystery photo, this time, comes from Restless Jo, more widely known for her weekly post linking Monday Walks from around the world.

Do you know the location of Jo’s Mystery Photo, shown below?

Jo Restless jo photo for MMP IMG_8984

Previous Monday Mystery Photo


My dear friend, Allison’s mystery photo depicted The Pinnacles, an unusual desert with rock formation north of Perth, in Western Australia.

Some thought they were termite mounds but these ancient limestone pillars, called The Pinnacles, are several metres tall. They’re scattered across the desert in Western Australia, North of Perth, in their thousands, creating an eerie, alien-like landscape. Some are as high as three and half metres, and some finish in a jagged point, while others have rounded domes, resembling tombstones. Made up of shells, the Pinnacles date back millions of years to an epoch when the sand was beneath the sea. Read more about this location here.

Correct answers for MMP, came from the following bloggers:

Chris from

and Lorelle and Christine who correctly guessed Australia

Well done! That wasn’t an easy location!

MMP – Monday Mystery Photo – Something mysterious to Ponder About



Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too and join with me in a discussion on what we can learn.

The proverb and quotes this week focus on environmental concerns.



I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn

– Nigerian Chief

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. - Franklin D Roosevelt #eco (Find more green quotes on




The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river

– Ross Perot


and a final quote this week:

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them

– Albert Einstein





The Nigerian Chief recognized that we can never truly own the land. We are merely transient tenants. Inherent in this saying, is the understanding of the mortality of ourselves and of our planet.

Of environmental problems, can they be solved by increasing and augmenting awareness? Or can one team or sector of society make a difference? I think it needs to be a cooperative, collaborative team effort. A problem tackled by all, and for all, ages. Yet, in our our little corner of space, we can change the world for the better. But, if we heed Einstein’s quote – can everyone do that?


                  Now posting on Fridays


Linking also to the Three day Quote challenge over at Purple Pumpernickel.

Proverbial Friday – Something to Ponder About

Poetry Challenge Monthly Prompt and Poetry Writing Tips


The A and I Poetry Writing Challenge has been running for several months and our poetic community grows each month. (Click Here for a sample)

Those who have never taken up the pen before, are writing fantastic poems. I can’t wait to read what you come up with this month.


Find instructions for joining in HERE

June Prompt

Write a poem about something small that is only 5 lines long. Write the same poem again and try to use concrete words.

Discuss which version you like best and why.

The prompt is merely a suggestion if you need help getting started with ideas.

You may of course, write about whatever you choose and still tag our A and I Poetry Challenge so that other readers can find your poetry post.

Read my Submission below, but first some Poetry Writing Tips:

Here are some tip on writing with concrete words:

Poetry Writing Tips:

One of the biggest problems with any language is the inherent ambiguity in an abstract word. It’s meaning isn’t perfectly clear, and you have to interpret it. This becomes really evident if you read different translations of the same texts. And with room for interpretation comes room for misunderstanding [Source:

Use Concrete Words Instead of Abstract Words.

Concrete words describe things that people experience with their senses.

  • orange
  • warm
  • cat

A person can see orange, feel warm, or hear a cat.

Poets use concrete words help the reader get a “picture” of what the poem is talking about. When the reader has a “picture” of what the poem is talking about, he/she can better understand what the poet is talking about.

Abstract words refer to concepts or feelings.

  • liberty
  • happy
  • love

“Liberty” is a concept, “happy” is a feeling, and no one can agree on whether “love” is a feeling, a concept or an action.

A person can’t see, touch, or taste any of these things. As a result, when used in poetry, these words might simply fly over the reader’s head, without triggering any sensory response. Further, “liberty,” “happy,” and “love” can mean different things to different people. Therefore, if the poet uses such a word, the reader may take a different meaning from it than the poet intended.

“Concrete” means something you can experience with your senses: you can see, smell, hear, taste, or touch it. “Abstract” describes an idea, thought, or feeling–something you can’t use your five senses to describe.

Change Abstract Words Into Concrete Words

Example: “She felt happy.”

This line uses the abstract word “happy.” To improve this line, change the abstract word to a concrete image. One way to achieve this is to think of an object or a scene that evokes feelings of happiness to represent the happy feeling.

Improvement: “Her smile spread like red tint on ripening tomatoes.”


Here is my Poetry submission for the June prompt:

Coming Home

Rebel by name but not by nature

Your wagging tail defines your demeanour

Smiling, happy, so warm on my feet,

Fur so soft that is hard to beat

Best friends in love through thick and thin

and now for the rewrite aiming for more concrete words:


Coming Home

Rebel only by name but not by nature –

Excited barking shared, tail a fluffy whip rhythmically brushing the air;

Infectious smile in eyes and nose, a welcome contagion with all those

velvet soft caresses on my cheek. Now a furry, warm slipper on my tired feet.

Accepting my failings, giving me company and her special brand of Rebel love.

I must admit that the second version paints a better picture for the reader.

I wasn’t happy with the final line but could not come up with an alternative today. Perhaps I will rewrite this poem again.

Here is some more tips on Using Concrete Words:

Concrete words are always stronger than abstract words in writing. You could stand on a soapbox in the park and say: “I hate all injustice! It’s wrong! We must end it!”

Or you could get on that soapbox and say: “Bullies stink! All bullies should be forced to eat headlice!” Which do you think will make people stop and listen? Which will make them yawn? []

The key to writing great poetry is to write focused, concrete poetry. But many beginning poets write poetry based around wide themes such as love, life, and anger, generalizing their writing. By using strong language, active verbs instead of passive verbs and concrete language instead of abstract, you can capture a reader’s interest and captivate a reader’s imagination. Poetry, as something others read, should be at its best interactive, and at its worse, straight forward and clear.

The reader has a difficult time relating to poetry that is generalized, vague, or otherwise abstract. Having the reader relate to the work is an important aspect of poetry, and to help the reader you must paint your meaning in clear images and words. When you begin a poem, ask yourself what you want to say and how you want to say it. If you want to write about life, what about life do you want to write about?

Are you angry at something and want to vent?

What are you angry at?

Don’t say the whole world. Pick a person or situation that you dislike and focus on that. By personalizing your poetry, you remove the vague generalities included in many abstract themes.

Name that name. Don’t just say birds, but tell the reader what kind of birds. Are they cardinals, swallows, or canaries?

Use more specific language: people, places, numbers, dates, and details. Be wary of particularly ambiguous terms.

Many people overuse some really meaningless abstract words. “Inexpensive” “reliable” and “fast” are three of the worst. The more specific the details, the more engaged the listener or reader must be in order to follow along, yet simultaneously the message becomes more clear.

Instructions for Joining in with the A and I Poetry Challenge can be found HERE

Don’t forget to link back to this post, on your own poetry submission post, by linking this url to the words A and I Poetry Challenge so Ineke, Amanda and others can find your post.

Have fun!

~ Amanda and Ineke

Poetry Challenge and Entries for May

Fellow blogger and writer from New Zealand, Ineke from and myself, Amanda from Something to Ponder About, are jointly hosting a bi-lingual Poetry challenge in English and in Afrikaans, in the WordPress community.

The challenge is open to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced writers or aspiring poets. The challenge will run from March to October, 2018.  We will share tips, offer a monthly prompt and post link backs to your published Poetry posts.

Scroll down to see Poetry entries and links for May. If I’ve missed anything, or anyone, please let me know. Pingbacks have been known to fail, so it is always helpful if you leave a comment on this post, to flag that you are joining in with the challenge.

A and I Poetry Challenge Entries for May

The task was to write using the photograph supplied or to use a topic of your own choice.

Please check out the wonderful entries  A and I Bilingual Poetry Challenge .



Featured Poet – Hester from Dis Ekke

This month, I would like to feature a poem from Hester. It is a ‘Reverse Poem’ that can be read from start to finish and then again in Reverse order, from finish to start – each way with a different meaning. It is a fantastic effort! I thank Hester most sincerely for joining in on the challenge. Reverse poetry is very new to me and Hester has given us an excellent introduction to this poetic device.


Parenthood is a thankless job

And only idiots believe that

Raising children brings sweet rewards

Being a parent is too heavy a cross to bear

And please don’t think that

Children appreciate the sacrifice

In fact

Giving up your dreams for this may be a mistake

People will tell you that

Being rich and famous

Is infinitely more satisfying than

Raising a family

For this job, one must be prepared to sign on for life

This is the truth

Parenthood requires a total mindset change

– Hester Dis Ekke


Would you like to join in with the Poetry challenge next month?

Challenge Guidelines can be found here


The Poetry prompt for this month will be posted on Something to Ponder About June 3rd, 2018.

Remember, you do not have to use this prompt, at all. The prompt is only there if you feel you want a topic to work from, or you find it hard to come up with an initial idea.

  • Write and post a poem in any language you wish, during the month of June, adding the Tag: A and I Poetry Challenge to your post.
  • Leave a comment on Amanda’s and Ineke’s blog letting us know you are participating.
  • Please link back to this post, so we can find your entry.


A and I Poetry Challenge
Ineke and I have created the above logo for the Poetry Challenge and you are very welcome to paste this onto your blog post or sidebar, so that others can also find out about the challenge, if you so wish.

That is it!

Oh and have fun writing!!

N.B. Ineke and I will post link backs to the blogs who have joined in with the challenge in the poetry challenge post in the following month, so that you can all find each other’s blog posts and build a new poet’s community! If you have any questions, please just ask.

Let us build a Poetry Community in WordPress!


Poetry – Something thoughtful to Ponder About