Quotes for Friday from Nii Ayikwei Parkes' Tail of the Blue Bird

If you look you will see that whatever happens the birds will sing their song. [1]

The ancestors say that the truth is short but, sεbi, when the tale is bad, then even the truth stretches like a toad run over by a car on those new roads they are are building. [2]

Ei, the elders say that news is as restless as a bird [5]

And when fear catches you, it returns you to screaming, your first language. [7]

I wanted to tell him that you do not light a fire under a fruit-bearing tree, but these young people think they invented knowledge so I ignored him. [9]

[R]emember that the monkey was eating long before the farmer was born . [9]

And I tell them that it is not just about beauty because beauty doesn't pay debts. But do they listen? [13]

He couldn't accept, as his grandfather's fellow had, that it was meant to be. His grandfather's life was not sunset, some light that went out whether you liked it or not. [32]

That is why they say that the way the crab lives by the stream makes it understand the ways of water. [66]

As the wise ones say it is not a name that changes the nature of an animal. [67]

The simple black and orange batik cloth she had wrapped over her breast was amplified halfway down her body by her hips, which swung with the casual ease of a hypnotist's pendant. [99]

It is no mystery that when something leaves your hand, grief can take its place; it is the same way that rain takes the place of clouds. What we cannot understand is how heavy the rain can be. [100]

The wise ones say that everything in this world is like sleep; it comes and goes. It is so with happiness and madness. [103]

[T]he brave man displays his courage and strength on the battlefield, not at home. [107]

[W]hen one starts on the path to evil good counsel sounds like a joke. [130]

They say nothing is other than what you see, but it is also true that nothing is other than what you don't see. [168] 


  1. great stuff keep it up the African bird never stops singing, no rain, no poverty and no struggle...shall silence it much love

  2. A rose by any other name smells as sweet. I like the animal-name one.

  3. Some great quotes here, from a book I enjoyed.
    Here's a youtube clip of the writer & one of his poems from the collection "The Makings of You"


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