Life in Contradiction



They say, “Look before you leap”,

A moment to consider cost.

But don’t dare fall asleep,

For “He who hesitates is lost”.


“If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try again”, damn it all.

It may be a much kinder friend indeed,

Saying, “Don’t beat your head against a wall”.


“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”,

No sweeter words will you ever find.

But you will be left to ponder,

Why is “out of sight, out of mind”.


“Two heads are better than one”,

Or, at least, some say that’s true.

But any father would encourage son,

“Paddle your own canoe”.


And, if it true, that “haste makes waste”,

And we should take the time we can.

Then why are we constantly faced,

With the fact, “time waits for no man”.


We’re still learning how the human mind ticks,

And “you’re never too old to learn”.

But, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”,

When just remembering is a concern.


Yes, “a word to the wise is sufficient”,

A meaning so profound and deep.

But it may be considered deficient,

For we all agree that “talk is cheap”.


“Spare the rod, spoil the child”,

If it is obedience that you seek.

But, in the same text is filed,

“Turn the other cheek”.


You should “hitch your wagon to a star”,

Adventure into the something new.

But if you choose to travel that far,

“Don’t bite off more that you can chew”.


“Don’t judge a book by its cover”,

Try not to, if you can.

But, if you’re looking for a lover,

Then the “clothes make the man”.


“The squeaky wheel gets the grease”,

As if some attention is beholden.

But it is when the noise does cease,

That we remember, “silence is golden”.


“Birds of a feather flock together”,

But don’t let that well detract.

For the tethered wisdom of another,

Would say, “Opposites attract”.


“Winners never quit”,

Keep going until you’re dead.

But, if you’ve had enough of it,

At least, “quit while you’re ahead”.


“Actions speak louder than words”,

On that we can find some accord.

But there are other words I have heard,

“The pen is mightier than the sword”.


“Many hands make light work”,

Woe to the deadly sin of sloth.

But, is that where the real evil lurks,

If “too many cooks spoil the broth”.


“Better safe than sorry”,

Good prudence is explained.

But life is like a safari,

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.


And, “it’s not the size of the boat,

But the motion of the ocean”.

Though the idea doesn’t seem to float,

If “the bigger, the better” is a notion.


Acceptance found in the tenet,

“Whatever will be, will be”.

But, “life is what you make of it”,

Unacceptance given by decree.


“Cross your bridges when you come to them”.

Your fears and anxieties will be disarmed.

Lack of preparation may leave you wanting then,

For being “forewarned is forearmed”.


“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”,

That’s what the farmer had told Roy’s son,

Yet I can say to you with great candor,

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison”.


They say, “The more, the merrier”,

Till the party gets too loud.

And sometimes it is a barrier,

Because “two’s company and three’s a crowd”.


“Seek and ye shall find”,

And as simple is all that.

It somehow brings to mind,

That “curiosity killed the cat”.


If you want to avoid any social rifts,

“Never look a gift horse in the mouth”.

But, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”,

Rolling up to the gate in the south.


“The best things in life are free”,

Or, at least, that was someone’s hunch.

They live a different life than me,

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch”.


“A penny saved is a penny earned”,

Ben Franklin spoke so bullish.

Another lesson that can be learned,

“Penny wise, pound foolish”.


We are told, “Stop and smell the roses”,

Don’t let life pass as a loss.

But as their scent fills our noses,

“A rolling stone gathers no moss”.


They say, “Patience is a virtue”,

Words bordering the sublime.

Yet, just as true, the other view,

“You are never given more time”.


What beautiful notion, “The sky is the limit”,

There is nothing to fear here at all.

But remember with each hill you summit,

“The higher you climb, the farther you fall”.


So, we have made a few mistakes,

You could say, “No one is perfect”.

Then I guess practice is all it takes,

Because “practice makes perfect”.


“The early bird gets the worm”,

No truer words are there than these.

But I can assuredly confirm,

“The second mouse gets the cheese”.




24 Responses to “Life in Contradiction”
  1. Beautiful and inspiring 😊👌

  2. I really like your poetry style, it’s detailed long and rhyming, I love poems like that, reminds me of all great old poets. Now the world is so fast paced that even a simple business email more that 4 lines, people don’t want to read. But this is original 👌

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thank you, Vinayak! The concept seemed like it would be fun, but I never imagined it would become this long. Every time I thought I was finished, I would think of another set of contradictory adages. I could have made this into a few posts rather than one long one, but I hate repeating myself conceptually, as I think it begins to become monotonous. Thank you for all your support! 😊

  3. Guess who absolutely loves this????

  4. Reblogged this on Ramblings and Ruminations and commented:
    Only my brother could take two adages I told him that were contradictory and turn it into this! Enjoy!

  5. Simply superb Brad 👌👏

  6. jupitergrant says:

    Wow, Brad. I am absolutely in awe of your talent. This is awesome! 👏👏👏

  7. Jim Borden says:

    this is a classic – I think my favorite of all your poems thus far. love the creativity!

  8. Ernie Pocai says:

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

  9. traciegila says:

    Fantastic! This clever poem just proves that truth is perspective 🙂

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] My Lullaby by Brad Osborne. Touchingly romantic, masterful poetry. And, also from Brad, this awesome, brilliant and clever poem, Life in Contradiction. […]

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