Russian Proverbs

by David Antin

the wave betrays the wind
thirst teaches you the value of water
if you have nothing you’ve got nothing to lose
the squash calls the melon a cucumber
a small hole can sink a big ship
the road from the peak can only lead to the valley
its easier for a lake to become a swamp than for a swamp to
     become a lake
you can soften steel but it takes a lot of heat
0experience may be a good teacher but its not a governess
when the river overflows, the last raindrop thinks it caused the flood
the sea swallows the wise as well as the fool
hope has distinguished relatives
if you’re looking for a lasting peace try a cemetery
a man with bad luck can drown in a teaspoon of water
looking at a broken pot won’t put it together again
what good is a loaf of bread when thousands are starving
the great volga began as a little stream
don’t become a violin if you don’t want to be stroked
what you tell the volga today the volga will tell the caspian tomorrow
its not the net that counts, it’s the fish
its easier for a dog to learn to howl than for a wolf to learn to bark
most cavalry songs are sung by infantrymen
a wolf without teeth is still a wolf
anyone can die without special training