Day 22 (Earth Day) NaPoWriMo 2020
Half filled pots spill a lot of water, and
Empty vessels make the most noise.
When bankrolled by monied interest,
Its not grass roots, its Astroturfing
Even an stable genius should recognize
That sycophants offer nothing but fake praise
When will the high and mighty bootlickers realize
That someone’s all mouth and no trousers?
Forgive a skunk that can’t smell its own stink,
but not those who can smell, but still spray.
The real lost souls are those who see their neighbors
beard burning but don’t put theirs in water.
…for the day asks you to engage with different languages and cultures through the lens of proverbs and idiomatic phrases. Many different cultures have proverbs or phrases that have largely the same meaning, but are expressed in different ways. For example, in English we say “his bark is worse than his bite,” but the same idea in Spanish would be stated as “the lion isn’t as fierce as his painting.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to find an idiomatic phrase from a different language or culture, and use it as the jumping-off point for your poem. Here’s are a few lists to help get you started: One, two, three.
Used the one of the references above and an Icelandic proverb caught my eye – Empty vessels make the most noise. I recalled a Gujarati proverb which means the same thing – it is Adhuro gahdo chalkaay ghano or half filled pots spill a lot of water – Gujarati proverb. Both meaning people who are all talk, often don’t know a lot.
Then I said, why stop at just one (or two) sayings and kept going, incorporating and creating more proverbs.
Though not used in the poem, this Texas proverb is something I have used before: All Hat and No Cattle, a Texas proverb means person is more image or projection than actual substance. It fits thematically, I think.
Other proverbs used:
All mouth and no trousers – British proverb meaning blustering and boastful, showing off without having the qualities to justify it.
No skunk ever smells its own stink – Thai proverb, meaning people doing wrong often don’t know they’re doing it.
If you see your neighbors beard burning, put yours in water – Venezuelan proverb meaning learn from the misfortune of those around you.