“Mother always told me: If you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it doesn’t sound good to you, it won’t sound good to no-one else.”
– Leroy Robert ‘Satchel’ Paige

“When one has one’s hand full of truth, it is not always wise to open it.”
– French proverb

“Tell your friend a lie. If he keeps it secret, then tell him the truth.”
– African proverb

“Nothing hurts a new truth more than an old error.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“Nothing does Reason more right than the coolness of those that offer it. For truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers.”
– William Penn

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
– Mark Twain

“Truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.”
– William Blake

“The worst you can do to truth is to cloth it in lies – you can never undo it anymore.”
– African proverb

“Follow not truth too near the heels, lest it dash out thy teeth.”
-George Herbert

“I have discovered the art of deceiving diplomats. I speak the truth, and they never believe me.”
– Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth; but most times he will pick himself up and continue on.”
– Sir Winston Churchill

“My way of joking is to tell the truth.
That’s the funniest joke of all.”
– Muhammad Ali

“Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth.”
– Pablo Picasso

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to suppress dissent; for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie. And thus, by extension: the Truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
– Joseph Goebbels (Propaganda Minister, Third Reich)

“Often times, to win us to our harm
The instruments of darkness tell us truths;
Win us with honest trifles, to betray us
In deepest consequence.”
– William Shakespear (Macbeth)

“When you shoot an arrow of truth, dip its point in honey.”
– Arabian proverb

“Tell the truth but tell it slant
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.”
– Emily Dickinson

“There is no story that is not true. Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.”
– Chinua Achebe

“What is truth?”
– Pontius Pilate

“The greatest truth is the simplest one.”
– African proverb



I searched long for it this afternoon, and I finally found it – a poem I wrote for Muhammad Ali, back in 1988 (my, where did the years go?). I was 14 and had just started exploring the world with words. 




This is a long-overdue salute from me
To him who has truly amazed the world
He who is the greatest boxer the world will ever see
And has been proclaimed the ‘Greatest of them all’
This is a long-overdue salute to Muhammad Ali.

It’s almost impossible that it should be
That he could be so good for nearly every bout
For he could really float like a butterfly and sting like a bee
He’d dance in and kill, then dance and get out.

The world started noticing him when he beat Sonny Liston
That’s when he beat him with his mouth before the real fight
Then he continued shoutin’ and screamin’ and boastin’ and braggin’
And decking every heavyweight that was in sight.

In America there’s meant to be religious freedom, really,
Yet when Cassius Clay became a muslim
And changed his name to Muhammad Ali
He became the most unpopular champion since Jack Johnson.

Ali’s list of victims grew quite long
And he became known as the fastest heavyweight in the history of boxing
But when he refused to fight the Viet-Cong
He gave the racists the chance to ban him from fighting.

But the people never forgot Ali – never!
And he always stood up for what he knew was right
And when he let them know he’d ‘retire Joe Frazier’
THEY just had to let him come back and fight.

His three-year lay-off had its toll
When he lost to Norton and he lost to Frazier
But he evened out the scores and beat them two-one
After breaking Foreman down, down here in Zaire.

He slackened and Leon Spinks snatched away the throne
But Ali came back and showed him who was King
He then retired, then came back for the new King, Holmes
But his freelancing had caught up and he could only do his pre-fight sing.

Ali will never again come back to the ring
Because he’s suffering from Parkinson’s Disease
But though the Butterfly has lost its wings and the bee its sting
The saga of Ali will never cease.
He is the greatest.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije
05. July, 1988.


“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.” – Muhammad Ali.

As a boy, those were the men in my life – my father, and Muhammad Ali. My father and I both loved Ali. And now they are both gone. One year after the other.
So much is gone with Ali.
One of the earliest Poems I wrote in my life, in 1988 at the age of 14, was in honour of the one they called The Greatest – Muhammad Ali.
I have to check my old papers when I get back home today. I hope I find it, and I’ll post it on my blog. ( I did 🙂 )
Good things are forever.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije.