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Do geese see God?

Out for a walk with my young son a while ago and he stated boldly:

“The best time to see the sunrise is in the morning.”

Undeniable. Blindingly obvious. Post-modern humour? I wasn’t sure which, but I tried to help him out by finding some deeper meaning to attribute, rather than burst his bubble with anything other than a nod of agreement.

No such wisdom was forthcoming, but it reminded me of the time that I mischievously threw out a question, without explaining the context, to see what gleaming insight would come back:

“Do geese see God?”

This is a question that might be treated differently by a theologian, an ornithologist or someone under the influence of mind-altering substances, but a word-nerd’s answer might baffle the uninitiated. Any one of these would be a fitting answer:

Mr Owl ate my metal worm.

Rats live on no evil star.

A Toyota. Race fast, safe car, a Toyota.

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

Yes, they are all palindromes, as indeed was the original question.

If English is not your native language, or if you are studying a foreign language, have you come across any good palindromic phrases there? Do you subscribe to the point of view that there might be deep meaning hidden somewhere in a phrase that reads the same in both directions? No, nor do I, but they are great fun to find, and incredibly rewarding to invent. Any offers?

As a post-script, the mention of geese offers a chance to share my favourite ornithological fact, being a bird-nerd as well as a word-nerd:

The word “whiffling” means flying upside down (only geese and ducks, I believe) in order to quickly lose altitude. They have to twist their necks while doing this, so that their heads stay the right way up.

A greylag goose whiffling - flying upside down but with it's head held the right way up. You didn't believe me did you! Picture courtesy of

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