Weekend Words: Track

Camille Pissarro, “The Train, Bedfork Park” (n.d.), oil on canvas, 54 x 65 cm, private collection (image via Web Gallery of Art)

This week came the announcement that the director of Dia Art Foundation, Philippe Vergne, has been named to replace Jeffrey Deitch as the director of the troubled Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Will this put the museum on the right track? Jerry Saltz seems to think so.

“To most men experience is like the stern lights of a ship, which illuminate only the track it has passed.”

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Who tracks the steps of glory to the grave?”

—Lord (George Gordon) Byron

“So the 20th Century—so
whizzed the Limited—roared by and left
three men, still hungry on the tracks, ploddingly
watching the tail lights wizen and converge, slip-
ping gimleted and neatly out of sight.”

—Hart Crane, “The Bridge”

“Men nearly always follow the tracks made by others and proceed in their affairs by imitation, even though they cannot entirely keep to the tracks of others or emulate the prowess of their models.”

—Niccolo Machiavelli

“And new buds will swell, intact,
the green shoots engage,
but your spine is cracked
my beautiful, pitiful, age.
And grimacing dumbly, you writhe,
look back, feebly, with cruel jaws,
a creature, once supple and lithe,
at the tracks left by your paws.”

—Osip Mandelstam, “The Age”

“Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”

—Dwight D Eisenhower

“People who make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism.”

—Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
Track twenty nine, boy you can gimme a shine
I can afford to board a Chattanooga Choo Choo
I’ve got my fare and just a trifle to spare.”

—Mark Gordon, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”

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