A Poem on Gossips: Gossips by Deola Adelakun



Hear-say is half lies, silence is wisdom

Grows by rolling as a snowball, so does a story

Those in many talks are in many lies

Silence seldom makes mischief

But talking is a plague to the Parish

An open mouth shows an empty head

The chest with gold and silver in it

Would not often stand wide-open

Free from slander if we must talk and

Not blister our tongue with backbiting

Slander, a sport to tale-bearers is death

To those who abuse

Gossips of both genders give up the shameful

Trade of tale-bearing

Never be the devil’s bellows any longer

To blow up the fire of strife

The files will go down your throat

If you keep your mouth shut

And no evil speaking comes out either

Think much but say little

Be quick at work and slow at talk

Ask the great LORD to set

A watch over your lips

 Briefs of the Poem

‘Gossips’ is a poem that warns against idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling, joblessness, vegetating, hibernating, time-wasting, truancy, time to kill, time to burn, indolence and mouth losing.

The poet presents that there is a tendency that those who talk too much will be liars. He advises gossip, not to slander, and blisters our tongue with backbiting. It is better according to the poet to work hard and reduce your talk. Think much and say little.

We should not be the devil’s agent any longer to cause strife. The poet sees gossip as a slothful, dull, lackadaisical, lethargic, jobless, and flagging person. He continues that an open mouth shows an empty head. The chest with gold and silver will not often widely stand open.

The poet continues that keeping our mouths shut will make the flies go down our throats. By doing this too, no evil speech will come out of our mouths. Gossips of both genders give up the shameful trade of tale-bearing.

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It is better to think much but say little instead of saying much and thinking little. By doing this, we should have control over our mouths. A good virtue is not gossip.

Word List and Meanings

Mischief: Bad behavior that is annoying but not causes serious damage.

Blister: Cause

Strife: Conflict

Tale-bearing: Slander

Practice Questions

1. Explain the message of the poem.

2. ‘The poem is didactic’. Discuss.

3. Comment on the poetic devices of the poem.

4. Explain the expression ‘to blow up the fire of strike’.

5. What, according to the poet, should be our attitude?

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