火的詩學 02

火的詩學 02

A Poetics of Fire by Gaston Bachelard

 

VIII

 

   Sometimes a fire just getting started is already active in the flesh 肉身. A human being is a living pyre 火葬柴堆. Rene Char, in the dedication 獻辭to his fine book In Search of Base and Summit 尋求山谷與山頂, gives expression to the ardor 激情 in an inborn 天生的pyre , a personal Empedoclean image. One can be “ burned alive,” the poem tells us, “ by fire no greater than oneself.”

 

An Empedocles of this sort is on fire even prior to 早先於 his final plunge投擲. So grandiose 宏偉is such a philosopher’s dream of combustion 燃燒, he offers himself up to the volcano for the volcano’s own sake. It is necessary to think: “ If I cast myself into the fire, my own ardor will fan 煽起 the flames.” We will burn together, the two of us, and share together the splendid life of fire.” Incendiary 煽火者and fire become one.

 

The philosopher, a choice 精選的combustible 可燃物, purifies vulgar 粗俗的worldly fire, enhancing 增加 its worth. But this purgative 淨化的 process is set in motion 觸發already by images of fire. All poets and all dreamers stir continually the fire beneath the mountain. It is they who are the life of the volcano; its destiny is theirs. Something would be lacking in the poetry of volcanoes if the private drama of Empedocles had not found its apotheosis 神聖化的人物 upon the summit of Mount Etna.

 

In the case of Rene Char, a poet who feels burning within himself fire equal to Fire, flames before the Flame, it is necessary to speak of an inner pyre, a pyre longed for 渴望 which exists in order to extinguish 熄滅flames of inner fire. The pyre of Hercules is neither widow’s pyre 寡婦的柴堆 nor disciple’s pyre 門徒的柴堆 for it consumes 燒毀 not the past. The presence of the image triumphs over history and legend and culture. Is not the tunic 素腰外衣of Nessus devouring吞沒 Hercules’ flesh a truly unforgettable image, a remordent 一再重複的 remorse 痛悔, a burn which burns again, still burns, will burn forever?

 

Why does such an image remain morally 確實viable 可實行even if one has but a poor or vague remembrance of its source in legend! The expression “ burning memory” apart from any image or analysis is only an expression but one at least which puts the image forth , starting it to life as a result. Each one of us is in possession of  擁有a secret pyre.

 

But let us not forget that Hercules was living flame throughout his life, the “ Glory of the Air.” As Paul de Saint Victor has put it: “ His former solar 太陽的nature…smothered 悶抑 secretly within his human form…” All the labors of Hercules were labors of rage 憤怒 which glorified his rage; the fires of rage nourished 滋養his existence. “ One might have said,” Saint-Victor continues,

 

    That the monsters he slew 屠殺 took their revenge in merging 融合with his being. The Nemean lion which he made into a cloak 外衣, the head of the Erymanthian boar 野豬with which he covered his bead, seemed thus reincarnate 化身and furiously 憤怒地alive within him.

 

The lion, solar in its essence, stirs the solar Hero with its fires. Fire lies at the root of Hercules’ exploits 事業, and fire is essential to his death.

 

His pyre merely finishes off what the fires of his volcanic anger have begun. Volcano is the term 用詞Saint-Victor chooses: invectives 謾罵issue forth. He cried out for a thunderbolt 霹靂to end his torment 痛苦.” Saint-Victor goes on to evoke 召喚  “ the myth of Solar Herculars, whose twelve labors represent the twelve signs of the firmament 天空. An extraordinary image comes to mind, that of a zodiac 星座constellated 命名星座 with monsters which grow to fill the heavens.” He concludes:

 

The holocaust 大屠殺would soon be consummated 完成. In a radiant whirlwind 旋風, from the summit of Mount Etna, a transfigured 變形 Hercules will fly skyward towards Olympus, all ablaze 燃燒, to take his seat among the gods.

 

Of course these many images are only oratorical 雄辯 . They describe nothing. But even an oratorical image must have its place in the kingdom of fire. The oratorical image may describe nothing, but it serves to elevate 提升thought to the heights of the imagination.

 

An entire generation of mythologists 神話學家 has attempted to link human destiny to celestial 天上events. A field of excessive metaphors 隱喻has been established linking the psychology of heroes to celestial cosmology 宇宙論. Cosmic reveries 幻想somehow became incarnated 具體化 in the figures of legend. In dreaming large, humanity grew to fill the world. A detailed dictionary now permits one to pass from psychological meaning to mythological meaning and back again. In analyzing legends dialectically 辯證法地, in terms of both the humanizing and the cosmicizing 宇宙化tendencies of language, one may understand things human and things cosmic doubly 雙重地, or rather imagine them twice: Hercules’ pyre becomes the setting sun..

 

 

Epilogue 結束語

 

The sage 聖賢 inquires of one pointing out an image: “What do you conceal from me in pointing out this image so? You point, but this demonstrates nothing. No one able to demonstrate would deign俯允to point. “

 

The more brilliant an image the more troubling its ambiguity 曖昧, for its ambiguity is that of the depths.

 

Respectable people prefer their images both superficial 表面的 and ephemeral 短暫的: water flowing clear over a sandy bottom, reflecting a distant sky…But heaven and earth together account for 解釋the verticality 垂直of an image. All that rises harbors the powers of the depths within.

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