Stanisław Jerzy Lec

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When everything has to be right, something isn't.

Stanisław Jerzy Lec (6 March 19097 May 1966) was a Polish poet and aphorist.


Unkempt Thoughts (1957)[edit]

Myśli nieuczesane (1957) as translated by Jacek Galazka (1962)
  • Wszystko jest w rękach człowieka. Dlatego należy je często myć.
    • All is in the hands of Man. Therefore you should wash them often.
  • Nawet w jego milczeniu były błędy językowe.
    • There were grammatical errors even in his silence.
    • Variant translation: Even in his silence were grammatical errors.
  • Pogrożę mu tylko palcem – rzekł, kładąc go na cynglu.
    • "I will just wag my finger at him", he said, putting it on the trigger.
  • Czy jeżeli ludożerca je widelcem i nożem to postęp?[1]
    • Is it progress if a cannibal uses knife and fork?[2]
    • This inspired the title for Cannibals with Forks : The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business (1998) by John Elkington
  • W walce idei giną ludzie.[3]
    • In a war of ideas it is people who get killed.[4]
  • The window on the world can be covered by a newspaper.
  • You will always find some Eskimos ready to instruct the Congolese on how to cope with heat waves.
  • Hay smells different to lovers and horses.
  • Do not ask God the way to heaven; he will show you the hardest one.
  • Tłum krzyczy jednymi wielkimi ustami, ale je tysiącem małych.
    • The mob shouts with one big mouth and eats with a thousand little ones.
  • Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man, but they don't bite everybody.
  • Burząc pomniki, oszczędzajcie cokoły. Zawsze mogą się przydać.
    • When smashing monuments, save the pedestals. They always come in handy.
  • Optimists and pessimists differ only on the date of the end of the world.
  • The moment of recognizing your own lack of talent is a flash of genius.
  • Morality is either a social contract or you have to pay cash.
  • Gdy z radości podskoczysz do góry, uważaj, by ci ktoś ziemi spod nóg nie usunął. [5]
    • When you jump for joy, beware that no one moves the ground from beneath your feet.[6]
  • When everything has to be right, something isn't.
  • Open Sesame—I want to get out.[7]

More Unkempt Thoughts (1964)[edit]

Myśli nieuczesane nowe (1964) as translated by Jacek Galazka (1969)
  • The Order of the Garter usually goes to people who already have full wardrobes.
  • It is the high priests that make demands — not the gods they serve.
  • No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

External links[edit]

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