Weekend

Weekend Words: Wall

“Pictures deface walls more often than they decorate them.”

Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin, “At the City Wall. ‘Let Them Enter!’” (1871), oil on canvas, 95 x 161 cm, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg (image via Web Gallery of Art)

On Tuesday in his now infamous Phoenix rally, Trump threatened to shut down the government if Congress balks at building his wall.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

—Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love: Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Pictures deface walls more often than they decorate them.

—Frank Lloyd Wright

Grant me an old man’s frenzy,
Myself must I remake
Till I am Timon and Lear
Or that William Blake
Who beat upon the wall
Till Truth obeyed his call

—William Butler Yeats, An Acre Of Grass

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling Kilroy was here on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.

—William Faulkner

Mind in its purest play is like some bat
That beats about in caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

—Richard Wilbur, “Mind”

You don’t change the course of history by turning the faces of portraits to the wall.

—Jawaharlal Nehru

Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it’s worse when they are wearing dark glasses and have streamers in their antlers because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot.

—Ellen DeGeneres

The parody is the last refuge of the frustrated writer. Parodies are what you write when you are associate editor of the Harvard Lampoon. The greater the work of literature, the easier the parody. The step up from writing parodies is writing on the wall above the urinal.

—Ernest Hemingway

By my God have I have leaped over a wall.

—Samuel 2, 22: 30 (KJV)

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.

—Mahatma Gandhi

Ash on an old man’s sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended.
Dust inbreathed was a house-
The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,
The death of hope and despair,
This is the death of air.

—T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets, “Little Gidding”

It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls.

—Epicurus

We in this country, in this generation, are by destiny rather than choice the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, good will toward men. That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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