Home > Collected Poems > Daresayings
by Alan Harris
These aphorisms, all original, were first
introduced in Thinker's Daily Ponderable.
New material is going in at the top. --A.H.

Rush, and the entire universe is in your way.

Religions seem to hook into different parts of the sky.

If the future is infinite, mortality may be a passing fad.

The ground keeps us bound, but the sky tells us why.

To count marbles: one, two, three, four.
To count humans: one, one, one, one.

Competition is the ego's journey; contemplation, the soul's.

The best wars never start, and all the others last far too long.

Imposing virtue upon others is like trying to paint raindrops.

Free choice is everywhere; freedom from consequences is nowhere.

Where love is the root, gratitude is the flower.

The unforgiving are the most likely to do the unforgivable.

Heaven isn't far--in fact, it's hugging us.

Irritation is a universal poison for which forgiveness is a universal antidote.

Love isn't a question of multiple choice.

Precisely where you're not getting is where you may not be giving.

Kilter is rarely noticed until something goes out of it.

Evolution is apparently endless on both ends.

To find out is human; to find in, divine.

For every day that you hang on a cliff, you get a wider view of life.

We are often blinded by what we can see, or paralyzed by what we can do.

Said love is maybe; realized love is yes.

Beginnings whoop; endings weep.

If there were a drug to reduce ego, would it sell?

Clocks accurately tick while time slips away like a black cat in the night.

Many would like to become great, but being alive is a hindrance
and being dead is distasteful.

The ethically blind see themselves everywhere they go.

A strong person has weak moments and is strengthened by each one.

"Smile" is an anagram of "slime"--and also a path through it.

There is nothing in this world but everything, and it can't all happen in a day.

For every question conceived in the mind, an answer resides in the heart.

Living it up usually takes far less time than living it down.

Tears talk to heaven, and heaven answers.

An opportunity without opportunists is as rare as a cowflop without flies.

Desperation gives Cupid quick wings.

This is the first minute of the rest of your hour.

Good giving brings good gifts, and well-thinking fills the air with well-being.

Killed time gets even.

So much depends on love that you'd think more people would use it.

The ability to fly high on life's trapeze doesn't
mean one is any good on life's tightrope.

Chaos you shall always have with you, and also overcontrol--try love.

Philosophies are a paradigm a dozen, but if they don't acknowledge love,
they fall away like leaves.

A house has square feet; a home has footsteps.

Opportunity breeds opportunism breeds misfortune breeds opportunity.

"With our amazing product you will grow healthier
every year until you die in perfect health."

To demand good but not to give is a recipe for personal stink.

When a new door opens, its hinges may be lubricated by your tears.

Authority without love is a universal poison.

Affectation is wealth's poverty.

With leaders we build; with rulers we cope.

As you take a step, the step takes you.

If your guru charges, retreat.

With every beat the heart is jumping for joy, though the
mind may be doubting and pouting in heedless gloom.

Plants reach out for the light, while humans reach in.

Charity and software piracy both begin at home.

There is no freedom from freedom--it endlessly compels us to do as we choose.

The heart is the best advisor, and also the nearest.

After formal education has dazzled and dismayed,
root errors bring on root learning.

We carry the sky in our lungs and the earth in our wallets.

Stupidity and genius are equally unpredictable.

There is joy ahead but much work. There is work ahead but much joy.

What is to be will unfold and unfold,
and flowers may bloom from the mold.

A country's Gross National Gullibility closely parallels its Gross National Greed.

Wisdom from words fades away,
but wisdom from anguish remains and remains.

The brain is a museum of the past, the heart a garden of the future.

A friendship can go no deeper than the confiding.

Weak warriors kill bodies; strong warriors win hearts.

Adversity can engender achievement,
whereas aimless comfort is a living cemetery.

The light never goes out, but sometimes we need to go in and fetch it.

Walking barefoot in grass makes your understanding tingle.

Isn't life intrusive?

The candle lights a way to peace; the heart lights a way to joy.

To measure quality is the ultimate fantasy of the quantitative.

In the dear school of experience, gentleness is our finest achievement.

"All of our operators are still busy helping others.
We appreciate your patience. In fact, we take it to the bank."

Truth can be stranger than fiction,
but poetry can be stranger than either.

It takes a long time to hurry, but now comes quick as a thought.

Our gift isn't that we have, but that we see.

Love isn't fussy, but it works best where there is
a universe, attraction, infinity, and time.

It's folly to destroy truth, whatever its costume or yours.

The freshest ideas are also the oldest.

A thought between two bites of a sandwich can change your destiny.

If not by love, then by law.

Wisdom is knowledge dampened with tears.

Ask not whether they'll hire you; ask what good they're doing for folks.

Brilliance without altruism is a cut flower.

Opposites attract, opposites butt heads, and opposites make up.

Stronger than most armor are motives clean and seen.

Flattery and fishing give hooked gifts.

Reversals for the body are rehearsals for the spirit.

Good forever gathers what evil blindly scatters.

Your real name can't be spelled or pronounced--only lived.

The wealthy feel wise, and the wise feel wealthy.

Poets and prisms make rainless rainbows.

Who can talk the flower out of blooming?

Beauty is nearer than your eye, more distant than the faintest star.

What makes a writer write is what makes a breather breathe--
alternatives are severely limited.

"Opposites attract" makes for stable atoms and amazing marriages.

Aging has acquired a bad reputation,
but it's a wonderful way to stay alive.

A lighted candle has no fear of the dark.

Each person is a statue of his or her soul.

A dangerous place to stand is in the way of
someone else's highest calling.

Knock, then realize you've always been inside.

Words can be bombs, balloons, or communion cups,
depending on what we put in them.

Compete, and everywhere, competitors;
cooperate, and everywhere, culture.

When you've been patient long enough,
you get to be patient some more.

Profound blessings move slowly because so much moves.

Earth life is a subset of poetry.

Wherever you find some ground, break it.


I rise to sleep
some bliss to take
then fall awake
to earn my keep.

Each life is a leaf that knows little of the whole tree.

The flowers never charge the bees
and pea pods don't invest their peas
but bipeds have such minds for fees
that if they could they'd sell the breeze.

A low bureaucrat looks busy and isn't,
while a high bureaucrat simply isn't.

Law of Kitchens: Two people working in a kitchen
will be in each other's way about every 20 seconds.
Corollary: Every 10 seconds if spouses.

It is efficient to be patient about several things at once.

We are poor in what we think we own.

All roads out are blocked
by this rockslide in your mind?
All roads in await.

Gossip is a time-filling voodoo that uses words for pins.

The goose that lays the golden eggs gets taken out to lunch a lot.

Godspeed can leave devilish messes.

Cute twice, cliché forever.

The young collect stamps; the old collect doctors.

To impose a creed by force
is as lame as a three-legged horse.

Not to judge is good judgment.

Honesty costs only one ego.

Nothing matters, and so does everything.

The impossible is just around the corner.

Compassion may bloom beautifully out of hatred's rot.

Among the laziest are some of the busiest.

Freedom, to the aimless, may seem a jail.

"Embracing change" is a shibboleth that management
commonly uses to lubricate a shaft.

If it isn't cycles, it's waves.

Killing a killer? Do the math.

A dewdrop on one blade of grass makes oceans moot.

Never let a confident person fold your parachute.

Anybody who thinks you walk on water, later won't.

Opportunity knocks, but the inevitable just comes on in.

As a person grows older, time gradually resolves into space.

You can give more than you have, but you can't take more than there is.

The kindest way to make chicken soup is to leave out the chicken.

A yacht is a cheap substitute for walking on water.

Cooking is 90% inspiration and 10% indigestion.

I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a society lady who had no fête.

Killing is a decidedly one-sided pleasure.

During election year a national flatulence sets in.

Opinion is wisdom in diapers.

Freedom allows you to choose which cage to live in.

Laziness is the mother of flurry.

Blunders create as many opportunities as does brilliance.

When you work for yourself, both of you work.

To be President is human; to be humble, divine.

Those on the take give up what those on the give take out.

Over time, pleasure and pain go together like tick and tock.

Perhaps God didn't actually create the world but won
it in a game of marbles, and is now turning His profit.

When stocks were low,
I didn't buy.
When stocks soared high,
my gain was slow.
With stocks now low,
my eyes are dry.

The larger the city, the shorter the tempers.

People remember your generosity far longer than your accumulation.

If roses are art,
then thorns are critics.
The soft choose heart;
the hard, analytics.

Growing old means throwing all abandon to the winds.

Evil is kinetic stupidity.

Precious stones iridesce; precious people irritate.

Both love and wile
can makes lips smile.
To know a liar,
look up higher.

American Business Ethic:
Our number one priority is customer satisfaction--
except where achieving this might erode profits.

You are not what you do, but what you do anyway.

The meek shall inherit the earth--as long as this is really okay
and like everybody's done with it and everything.

You can't kid hate.

Each new day creates itself from available chaos.

Wouldn't opinions be wonderful if nobody else had any?

If you're pulled along by tomorrow, today may seem quite puny,
but if you breathe the essence of today, tomorrow disappears.

When a man's thinking is airtight, his mouth usually leaks.

After Cupid

To love just right
without a fight
is tricky, quite.

When you're reading a book about Zen, you're not reading a book about Zen.

You get the most free financial advice from people who are in your pocket.

Carry your enthusiasm and it carries you.

When you hurt badly enough, almost anyone can be your teacher.

Old programmers never die--they just become legacy.

Gifts given give gifts.

Competition feeds the outer person, while cooperation feeds the inner.

The wall that protects you also confines you.

The root cause of humanity's dramatic progress
during the twentieth century may be coffee.

Your bad habits will kill you if bad luck doesn't get you first.

To find eternity, lift up the minute.

Like milestones on a journey, our mistakes show us right where we are.

We age in years, but we mature in moments.

Ulterior motives may be invisible, but oh, the smell.

The small angers the small.

Even perfection has its limitations. For example, a perfect square can hardly roll.

The slogan "Time is money" has encouraged Americans to spend
as much time chasing money as money saving time,
creating a high standard of frazzle.

Scrooge no longer hates Christmas, now that he's acquired it.

Tomorrow holds rewards
for thoughtfulness today
distilled from painful errors
in endless yesterday.

The mind discovers buttons that the heart refrains from pushing.

In an important business meeting there will typically be more faces than people.

Many newcomers in hell are soon put to work designing phone menus.

A New Beatitude

Blessed are the shrinks
who'll listen to you hollah
for just a hundred dollah
when life completely stinks.

Progress entails thinking outside of the box to create fresh boxes
for the unimaginitive to think inside of.

Our enemies teach us lessons that our admirers never can.

In a university you can have a bad idea without endangering the general public.

America has quietly fallen into the hands of those who drive over the speed limit.

If unpaid overtime isn't slavery, it's certainly funny money.

Future historians may note that during the twentieth century,
idolatry was almost completely replaced by idollaratry.

For the endless commitments we make, our days contain too few infinities.

A quarter for expertise buys a dollar's worth of peace.

As Santa comes down the spine from the head to the heart, everything seems a gift.

Does the Star of Bethlehem not shine from every eye?

To refuse free goods and sold enlightenment can prevent a lot of complications.

A car gets you there--beyond which, it's metal clothing.

What if they gave a peace and nobody relaxed?

Quiet is to noise as silence is to quiet.

A school without soul is a busy-box.

Negotiating with a car salesman feels like playing a game of poker blindfolded.

Two invisible antagonists animate nearly every board meeting.
They are quality and quantity.

After all that some of us have been through, hell should be a breeze.

"Financial independence" and "knowing truth"
have been two of the 20th century's most sacred oxymorons.

Earth is unsure footing
and wealth is insecure,
but how you've loved and given
will deathlessly endure.

Those who choose bravely learn deeply.

The spiritual path is lined with many discarded carrots and sticks.

Most modern battles have been lost quietly at night in front of an open refrigerator.

How can we be sure that infinity is all there?

Some music critics will tell you when the meadowlark is out of tune.

Wherever there's new ointment, can a fly be far away?

A sure way to learn is by ignoring good advice.

Each ballot is a bullet unshot.

When the irresistible meets the immovable, a telephone rings somewhere.

But for your past calamities, your virtues might be fewer.

Where would a poet be without an angst to grind?

Can a fountain be robbed?

Saying "no" strengthens; saying "yes" creates.

Poetry works best when you ignore the words.

So many the important, so few the awake.

Dogs and politicians bark until fed or elected.

We are most strengthened, over time, by our weaknesses.

Judge not, and you're dead.

After 50, the best thing about a birthday is having it.

Anything you hide is perfectly safe until found.

The flirt and the flatterer make a cozy couple--for a while.

Well-timed silence is the purest speech.

Everyone, even vegetarians, can benefit by occasionally eating crow.

Their relationship has matured to the point where they don't need each other at all.

Music is better than no silence at all.

When it is time to cry, you do. No volcano is more
irresistible than a sobbing whose time has come.

Drinking from deep springs won't make you deep, but digging may.

Unity is the safety net forever beneath twonity.

The palate can murder the colon.

Fate remains wonderfully poised when gamblers tempt it.

When an error is made, the stupid blame,
the conventional cluck, and the awake learn.

For deepest meditation, nothing is necessary--very necessary.

Human motives are so complex that a judge can only be a poet of justice.

In a nutshell, be a nut.

Cyberia: where you live if a good e-mail friend cuts you off.

Even more loathsome than pious condemnation is pious forgiveness.

Even with its hassles, life seems to be the best thing they've come up with yet.

Art and money sleep in twin beds.

For years he schemed for money,
the focus of each day.
Now bankers have his money
and he is gone away.

Most knowledge is just belief wearing a top hat.

At the end of a day, is there one less day in your life or one more day in your life?

Intolerance leads to suffering leads to investigation leads to compassion.

Brilliance uses fine words; character, pauses.

There's nothing like a prototype to give the
impression that there's a bandwagon to jump onto,
even when there's only a star and a hitch.

Buy now, and forever comes free.

Any three shark lawyers know at all times which three of them are lying.

Why do some people postulate a female God
but avoid granting the same favor to the devil?

Do: a verb sprinkled liberally into airline announcements
to create the illusion of intense caring.

Visualization can be important to one's advancement in a large company,
especially the ability to see clothing on naked emperors.

As surely as a bud, given water, will become a flower,
the office sycophant, given power, will become an autocrat.

You may wish on a star, but you get what you are.

One inevitable can overturn thousands of impossibles.

The intelligent are wary of the smart.

Moment: an infinitely expandable unit of time,
used often in situations of love or airline delays.

Pain doesn't enjoy us, either, but it's got a job to do.

"You have mastered it, my disciple. Next week we
will explore the sound of one hand NOT clapping."

If a cat could speak, it probably wouldn't.

Every person we meet is both a wonderland and a curriculum.

To know who you are, observe what you do.

Taste makes waist.

A suture in time saves the future.

A guru said to his gathered disciples: "There are two kinds of people:
those who don't know, and those who don't know that they don't know."
A disciple asked, "How do you know?"

School board meeting: a process whereby difficult problems
are brought up, discussed with opinionated bewilderment, tabled,
and later solved by the school secretary.

The first shall be last and the last shall be first,
while the mass in the middle opine.

Definitions are the main tinker-toys supporting any civilization.

The town's gun factory stands not far from a church,
both making the world a little holier.

At the end of a meadowlark song, the silence is double.

Someone's big ego and a dead rat in the wall are about equally difficult to ignore.

Business office survivors learn to distinguish bluster
from need, and anxiety from importance.

Months come disguised as days, and swindle us sweetly of years.

We depend upon each other for our independence.

Undone tasks quickly have children and grandchildren.

There's nothing new
beneath the sun,
but luckily,
what's old is fun.

Be glad if your age is still approaching your IQ and not leaving it behind.

Time is all we have, and most of what we don't have.

For a variety of reasons, every Christmas the uninformed
buy the unnecessary for the ungrateful.

Crying makes an inner rainbow.

To find big mistakes, look for big egos.

You can't buy a home any more than you can feel at house.

Everyone contributes to society--some by serving as horrible examples.

We learn so much from some of our mistakes that we keep on repeating them.

Guilt is a little prison that keeps you out of big ones.