On the Wrong Train

A particularly striking paragraph from my current reading project, Werner Herzog’s Conquest of the Useless, representative of Herzog’s peculiar combination of detached observation and visionary mysticism:

A man was walking down the dusty road to the Rio Nanay, shuffling a deck of cards as he went. On the plane a woman began to sing litanies, and then, her eyes growing wilder and wilder, to rail at evil spirits. Not until we had landed and taxied to a stop did she calm down. Am I in the wrong place here, or in the wrong life? Did I not recognize, as I sat in a train that raced past a station and did not stop, that I was on the wrong train, and did I not learn from the conductor that the train would not stop at the next station, either, a hundred kilometers away, and did he not also admit to me, whispering with his hand shielding his mouth, that the train would not stop again at all? Drastic measures, he whispered to me, were appropriate only for someone who had not set foot on this continent yet. To fail to embrace my dreams now would be a disgrace so great that sin itself would not be able to find a name for it.

One Response to “On the Wrong Train”

  1. Merle Baggard Says:

    I appreciate the new subtitle.

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