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Bird Poems

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"Mother Parrot's Advice to her Children"

Never get up till the sun gets up, Or the mists will give you a cold,
And a parrot whose lungs have once been touched Will never live to be old. 
Never eat plums that are not quite ripe,
For perhaps they will give you a pain:
And never dispute what the hornbill says,
Or you'll never dispute again. Never despise the power of speech:
Learn every word as it comes,
For this is the pride of the parrot race,
That it speaks in a thousand tongues. Never stay up when the sun goes down,
But sleep in your own home bed,
And if you've been good, as a parrot should,
You will dream that your tail is red.

Ganda, Africa
Translated by A.K. Nyabongo

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