Weekend Words: Smoke

David Teniers the Younger, “Smokers in an Interior” (c. 1637), oil on panel, 39 x 37 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (image via Web Gallery of Art)

On New Year’s Day, pot went legal in Colorado.

As chronicled by the New York Times:

To supporters, it was a watershed moment in the country’s tangled relationship with the drug. They said it was akin to the end of Prohibition, albeit with joints being passed instead of Champagne being uncorked.

To skeptics, it represented a grand folly that they predicted would tarnish the image of a state whose official song is John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” and lead to higher teenage drug use and more impaired driving.

As chronicled by Tin Pan Alley:

“Now laughing friends deride
Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies,
Smoke gets in your eyes.”

—Otto Harbach, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

“The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.”

—T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.”

—Benjamin Disraeli

“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image.”

—Revelation, 14:11

“The smoke and wealth and din of Rome.”

—Horace, Odes

“Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of those who diffuse it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker.”

—George Eliot, Daniel Deronda

“Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.”

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“Herein is not only a great vanity, but a great contempt of God’s good gifts, that the sweetness of man’s breath, being a good gift of God, should be wilfully corrupted by this stinking smoke.”

—King James I, A Counterblast to Tobacco

“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.”

—Vincent Van Gogh

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