Weekend Words: Train

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

Today is the 100th birthday of Billy (“Take the A Train”) Strayhorn.

The biggest electric train set any boy has ever had!

—Orson Welles, on the RKO studios

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

—Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.

—Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Travel”

If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dying should come easy:
like a freight train you
don’t hear when
your back is

—Charles Bukowski, “A Summation”

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when,
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone…

—Johnny Cash, “Folsom Prison Blues”

Friends: not one. Just a few acquaintances who imagine they feel something for me and who might be sorry if a train ran over me and the funeral was on a rainy day

—Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?

—Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions

We feel the machine slipping from our hands
As if someone else were steering;
If we see the light of at the end of the tunnel,
It’s the light of an oncoming train.

—Robert Lowell, “Since 1939”

Commuter–one who spends his life
In riding to and from his wife;
A man who shaves and takes the train,
And rides it back to shave again.

—E. B. White, “The Commuter”

Only by the good influence of our conduct may we bring salvation in human affairs; or like a fatal comet we may bring destruction in our train.

—Desiderius Erasmus

Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.

—Walt Disney

I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.

—Harriet Tubman

How long babe how long
has that evenin’ train been gone?
How long, how-how long, baby how long?

—Leroy Carr, “How Long, How Long Blues”

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