Archive for the ‘雄伯手記95’ Category

雄伯手記9518

February 11, 2008

E0928

 人生的一個困惑是,思維及行為方式若不夠現實功利,在生存競爭的態勢中會處於劣勢。但是過於現實功利,傷害最大的反而是自己,因為思想價值觀念、及行為,都會隨之而受到扭曲而產生偏差的現象。 大清早醒來,正要離開床舖,發現左腳掌的肌肉似乎蠕動了一下,然後疼動地卡住。心中暗喊一聲不妙。若疼痛持續下去,今天非請假不可。幸好,定下心來冷靜一陣子,疼動解除,而且也能像正常般走動,心頭始稍稍寬慰一點。 由於明天是教師節兼中秋節,學生紛紛送來鼓勵的賀卡,對於自我的認同信心大增。相較於早上起床時的左腳疼痛時的心境,真是天淵之別。你瞧!我每天就在這種沮喪與振奮的心情之間搖擺。時而想來日無多,不如馬上退休,時而覺得自己不僅可以撐到六十五歲,還可以開家教班,大展鴻圖。 大約是前兩年罷,D的電腦故障要我拿到電腦店送修,卻發現市面已經沒有PCI介面的顯示卡。當時由於存款簿只剩幾萬元的週轉金,不敢貿然主動為她換購新電腦,就這樣一直拖延下來。前些日子,電腦改接第四台光纖Cable寬頻線上網,速率快速如飛,就想要分支線到樓上D的房間。這時才被告知她的電腦始終沒有修好,心頭掠過一陣無以言宣的愧疚感。 儘管D口頭表示不用如此麻煩,我今天還是上網定購了一台迷你型的準系統電腦。了卻一項心願,避免將來大去之日還是耿耿於懷! 中秋佳節兼教師節,即使剛好是在月底,W也絲毫沒有想要回來領錢的模樣,看來真是放山雞,樂不思蜀去也。 中秋夜,月圓人不圓,獨自在家喝了一些小酒,心血來潮打個電話查查勤,果然手機及家用電話均杳無音訊。過了兩個多小時後,從睡夢朦朧間聽到電話鈴響: 「剛才手機嘟嘟兩聲,是你打的罷?」「嗯,你去哪裡了?」「都在家裡呀?不相信,你現在打電話過來!」心頭浮過一陣疑惑:嘟嘟兩聲的臨場感為什麼會有兩個小時的時差? 

前面紗門的鎖故障,怎麼鎖都鎖不上去。我自己連試了幾次依舊無效,開始心灰意冷,回身穿好衣服,準備去找鑰匙店來更換。就在此時,心念一轉,上次鎖匠來更換時,只見他用螺絲起子轉幾下子而已。我何不如法炮製? “Why not give it a try? “ I asked myself. 果然用螺絲起子轉開之後,裡面就是那幾樣東西而已,跟她們搖一搖,撥弄幾下子,竟然就從病入膏肓中起死回生。不免大喜過望,倒不完全是因此省了些銀兩,而是對於習慣於自求多福的自我的信心又增加了一分。

 

雄伯手記9517

February 11, 2008

E0920

 

利用中午的時間將「西洋文學概論」的美國作家Saul Bellow,給譯成中文。完成後精神亢奮地到達辦公室。正在批閱週記時,發現有幾位身穿鮮豔制服的衛生局小姐到處走動發傳單,原來是在宣導戒菸的政令。由於大部分老師都上課去了,從年輕時代就學不會抽煙的我,居然被看上作為問卷調查的對象。只是所問的問題及要求過於理性化的權威兼專橫,「不僅辦公室,連整個校園都是禁煙區!」她斬釘截鐵地說。我漸漸地不耐起來,於是像「卡謬」Camus小說中的「異鄉人」The Stranger「莫魯梭」一樣,我開始不妥協不敷衍地跟一臉純真自信的宣導小姐論辯起來:

 

「學校本身是理性化的制約機構,原則上我們不會反對合理化的禁煙要求。但是連室外的空曠地區也列為禁煙區,實在是矯枉過正,有如道德經老子說「善復為妖」,用民初的流行語來說,就是類似「吃人的禮教」。禮教本身並非不好,只是一但無限上綱,變成僵化霸權,反成為殘害及禁錮人性的禍首。你們以科學依據維護健康為名,宣導禁煙本是用意良善,但是如此將它列為絕對的真理,而忽略人性對於香煙作為紓解壓力及提昇精神的需求,反而成為一種理性的「迫害者」。

 

回家後不禁訝然失笑自己跟陌生的女子作這種無謂的論辯,對方不過是領人薪水,盡其職責、做其該做的事而已,也就是英文所說 “I am just doing my duty”

我竟然如此一板正經慷慨陳詞,宛如失控的模樣。想是剛譯完Saul Bellow,精神意識尚留連在文學與哲學的亢奮狀態,不知不覺就逾越了在現實環境中習慣於理性自制的妥協心態。

 

   學校的電腦伺服器新增加防火牆的裝置,以防駭客或網路病毒入侵。我以Daydreamer軟體製作,寄身其間的的網頁卻首當其衝,更新的檔案資料無法上傳。起初頗感懊惱,因為必須先用燒錄器將檔案燒錄帶到學校,改用ws_ftp軟體內部上傳方式始能進入。後來批閱學生週記,發現她們用ftp複製及張貼的方式,亦可上傳。於是學習孔子「三人行必有我師焉」的精神,不恥下問。回家後操練幾次果然成功,不禁大為興奮,大嘆A blessing in disguise (因禍得福),人生不經歷不如意或挫折,哪能增長新智慧新能耐?

 

   晚間看第四台36頻道的「楚漢帝國」,發現楚霸王項羽跟劉邦的興衰之別,在於前者自負傲岸,不能識人、容人、用人及召攬民心、鼓勵士氣,本為其麾下的名將韓信及陳平最後改投到劉邦那裡去了。只是要領導者有容乃大,自古以來都是有如與虎謀皮,知識份子能明哲保身,自求多福就不錯了。

雄伯手記9516

February 11, 2008

E0912

 

        雖然對於教學工作仍然充滿了研發的熱情和潛力,猶豫了一陣子,還是將退休的意願調查表給交了上去。想一想,就像抗戰時期「前方吃緊、後方緊吃」的兩極現象,我生命的倫理價值體系已經逐漸受到侵蝕。再加上看來並非單純是痛風症的嘴唇浮腫及全身過敏現象。一但馬革裹屍得拖拖拉拉,非但沒有什麼氣豪壯,反而會成為別人的負擔。想一想,算了!

 

    花了3000元買了一雙有生以來最貴的皮鞋。那是一家不起眼的傳統小鞋店,有一些陳年貨底的零碼鞋。我的腳掌小,要剛好找到恰好而舒適的並不容易。想一想,學習善待自己罷!

 

    週休二日,早上獨自一人在家上網玩電腦及讀讀書,到了下午三點才覺得有點悶,於是騎著五十西西的小摩扥車,想在郊外逛逛。過花蓮大橋後,沿著斜坡往稜線方向爬升。馬力不足的老車背後排氣管立即冒出強烈的惡臭濃煙,不過半推半就地還是給撐了上去。過遠來大飯店後的崎嶇小路,兩旁部分也已經有人開發經營,再遠一點則是連水泥柏油路都沒有,而是泥濘與小石頭參差,不論是上坡或下坡都極其驚險難行。過了將近一小時,舌乾唇燥,才警覺到忘了帶飲料食物,前途茫茫,不知終點是否有下山的出路。想一想,不敢再冒進。

 

    週日晚上參加B的生日宴會,兄弟姐難得相聚,備感溫馨親切。只是乍聞堂弟中風的訊息,不免為之惆悵。大家年歲都已經超過六十以上,儘管虛張聲勢舉杯敬祝「活到一百二十歲」,來日無多的陰影其實還是籠罩在每個人的潛意識裡。於是相約,以後每人生日輪流作東,增加大家相聚言歡的機會。

 

  

 

   

 

   

雄伯手記9515

February 11, 2008

E0908

 

   由於接撥上網的570數據機速度既慢,又經常斷線,懷疑是被人盜打或入侵惡意程式。再加上電話費及網路使用費急速增加,將近千元。今天痛下決心,改裝第四台的光纖固網,費用差不多,但是可以整天上網,不用擔心電話費,而且速度也增加到頻寬的2000,真是工欲善其事,必先利其器。

 

   於是放肆地上網瀏覽surfing去也。外國網站不用說,CNNCBS、或ABC的影音連線立即接上,只是都要付費,真是天下沒有白吃的午餐There is no free lunch..還好總算找到幾個收音機的廣播台,雖然沒有影像,看在不用錢的份上,姑且聽一聽英文的聲音也過癮。

 

   愛情國小本是被學生慫恿上來,因為不好意思跟年輕人一起廝混,只好藉著寫英文日記的名份堂而皇之的替自己合理化。久而久之,養成習慣,覺得逼自己每天寫一寫英文日記,其實也是不錯的磨練跟發洩,因為中文日記看的人多,反而瞻前顧後,越來越不敢亂寫。今天上網改成寬頻之後,超連接的阻礙一掃而空,於是朝著前來觀看者的足跡,反溯回去觀看她們的日記,一一探索。

 

   電腦界的進步真是日新月異得驚人,不管是軟硬體都是以加速度的方式在更新。CPU幾乎每半年就出現一種新的款式,Window系統及Office 文書也是如此。只是有時不免感到困惑,我已經覺得很好用了,很滿意了,為什麼還要一直跟著時髦翻新?我主要的用途是文書及上網,Pentum III其實也已經夠快,Window 98 , office 2000其實已經近乎完美,今天到電腦店瀏覽一下,發現早已經是Pentum 4.28GHWindow XP,及Office XP以上的天下。Monitor,我桌上仍然是十年前的14吋的顯示器,始終沒有想要換她,因為近距離使用,實在也很清楚,儘管電腦店裡早已經是液晶體的平面顯示器到17以上了。

 

   常到電腦店瞧瞧,就會發現主要的顧客是青少年,主要的軟體是電腦遊戲,那也是像漫畫小說那樣流行更新得很快。只是文學小說及電影,有時還會有永垂不朽的經典,電腦遊戲則是玩過了就嫌膩拋棄,然後再找新鮮刺激的,然後就這樣一直長江後浪推前浪的滾下去。這使我想到後現代人的感情生活及生命價值觀念,其實也將是如此。星期一上「西洋文學概論」,談到「狄更生」的「雙城記」A Tale of Two Cities。一位愛情至上的男人犧牲自己的生命,去拯救愛戀對象的丈夫,學生的反應是「簡直是神經病!」

 

  我只好感慨言之:「現在願意這樣犧牲生命去愛的男人並不多,現在值得人家這樣愛的女人也越來越少!」前半句好像無人反對,聽到後半句,有幾位皺起眉頭,表示不滿不悅的神色:「怎麼可以這樣說?」好像她們將來一定是例外似的,再聯想到「無名氏」早期膾炙一時的小說的「塔裏的女人」及「北極風情畫」,裡面所描繪的堅貞純情女人,不知是「無名氏」男性中心思想的過度自戀,還是本來就是瀕臨絕種的稀有動物。

 

   一位信主耶穌的丰姿卓約的女郎,因為迷戀青春的愛情,違背宗教信仰不得離婚的戒律,硬是鼓起勇氣拋棄丈夫和子女,跟著對方走了。不料,到頭來還是被人始亂終棄,還背負一身債務、多病之驅、外加犯傲慢及淫亂的罪惡感,才幡然醒悟到「人間哪有真實的愛?只有神的愛才是最真實的。」不知如何安慰她,只好借用美國作家「麥爾威爾」Herman Melville的「白鯨記」Moby-Dick的神學邏輯說:「你當時在眾多牧師的規勸及家庭倫理的壓力之下,還悍然地走出去,其實也是一種生命抉擇的勇敢。正如聖經所言,神創造人時給予自由意志,就是要人從違背神的意志的反抗中,去認識神的存在及恩典。」她點點頭同意說:「人間若都是幸福美滿,誰還會在乎神的存在不存在?」

 

雄伯手記9514

February 11, 2008

E0902

 

   由於五月下旬的痛風發作是吃了雞的內臟雞腎雞腰,所以警惕不敢妄夾。不料,跟他們一起混在一起炒煮的雞腿照常會引發。有鑑於上次逞強去上課的尷尬場面,這次只好先請假再說。

 

   醫生一看我上次並非依照指示去檢驗所抽血驗尿,勃然變色的訓斥起來:「你這個病我不要這樣醫。止痛的藥長期服用對腎會有不好的副作用。奧運徐總的要換腎就是活生生的例子。你真是不見棺材不流淚!你不去驗尿酸,我怎能給你開降尿酸的藥?」

 

   話是如此說,所開出來的藥方照常還是有降尿酸的藥,想是於心不忍罷?止痛藥果然像仙丹,中午吃了,睡過午覺醒來,疼痛果然消除。只是到了晚上,換成嘴唇腫脹起來。

 

   “ Why this is Hell, nor am I out of it? “

               Doctor Faust   by Kit Marlowe

 

平步青雲的C一時心血來潮突然問起我:「Robert Frost 在甘迺迪總統就職典禮朗讀的那首詩是不是Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening?」拜電腦網路方便之賜,我幾分內就將資料找出來,原來是 The Gift Outright (無條件的奉獻)。詫異的是,C竟它張貼在穿堂公告欄上,想是要鼓舞士氣。

 

晚上我也心血來潮將Robert Frost 的詩娑摩一番,將The Gift Outright 望文生義以「新批評New Criticism」的方式,給翻譯成中文。再對照各家詮釋,不禁動搖起來,欣賞詩不僅需要想像力,還需要傳統歷史文化背景的涵養。不過牽強附會的地方也不少,我索性也一並譯成中文,還是有點不確定。心想詩的語言過於精鍊,本來具有高度模糊ambiguous的空間,我能自圓其說就好。

 

中午一點上課時,前排有些學生直喊過於悶熱,我要求將電風扇轉向她們。「我比較瘦,不怕熱,沒關係。」不料,青春期的女學生敏感得很:「老師的意思是說我們比較胖,怕熱!」連忙道歉,免得越描越黑。想一想,日常溝通語言都難免如此,何況描述幽微心境的詩的內涵了。

 

                    The Gift Outright

                     無條件的奉獻

 

   The land was ours before we were the land’s.

   She was our land more than a hundred years

   Before we were her people. She was ours

 In Massachusetts, in Virginia,

 

國土屬於我們,即使在我們擁有之前。

我們的國土屬於我們已經有一百多年,

在我們尚未是她的子民之前,就屬於我們

在麻薩諸塞州,在維吉尼亞州。

 

 But we were England’s, still colonials,

 Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,

 Possessed by what we now no more possessed.

 

但是彼時我們是英國的屬地,為其殖民,

我們仍然擁有的許多尚未被宰制的東西

也尚未喪失今天我們已經淪喪的東西。

 

Something we were withholding made us weak

Until we found out that it was ourselves

We were withholding from our land of living,

And forthwith found salvation in surrender.

我們怯於奉獻使我們變得積弱,

直到我們發現,其咎於我們自己

我們對於賴於生存的國土不願奉獻               

卻冀望馬上在屈服中尋求救贖。

 

Such as we were we gave ourselves outright

( The deed of gift was many deeds of war)

 To the land vaguely realizing westward,

But still unstories, artless, unenchanced,

Such as she was, such as she would become

 

彼時雖然擁有不多,我們無條件地奉獻

(奉獻的行為表現於男兒志在沙場)

對未知的西部蠻荒的土地開拓

 即使未流傳為故事,美談或宣揚

儘管土地如斯,未來亦如斯

 

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On “The Gift Outright”


Albert J. Von Frank

The ominous thirteenth line of Robert Frost’s “The Gift Outright” is made to appear all the more ominous by its entire lack of tonal and grammatical relationship with any thing else in the poem, an isolation signalled, of course, by the parentheses.

佛洛斯特的「無條件的奉獻」由於跟詩中其他東西完全缺乏語調及文法關係,而顯得更加氣氛凝重。當然,這是由於括弧那一句所表現的孤立。Almost by itself this line justifies Frost’s own characterization of the poem as being “about Revolutionary War,” rather than, in a more general way, about the forming of a spiritual commitment to the land.

由於這一行本身幾乎就已經證明這首詩是有關美國獨立時的「革命戰爭」,而不是一般性地描述,對於土地的精神奉獻。

 Omit the thirteenth line and the poem is still a very good, though undoubtedly a very different, onein some sense, perhaps, the “basic poem” to which the apparently gratuitous reminder of war is the poet’s own gift outright.

省略了第十三行,這首詩依舊是優美,雖然毫無疑問地,在意義上截然不同。也許,這首基本的詩,由於無端地提到戰爭,正是詩人毫無條件的禮物。

Moreover, the line is almost all that prevents us from taking the poem as simply an interesting, but finally conventional and unambiguous, patriotic effusion, something rather like what Frost must have had in mind when, in an unguarded moment, he compared the poem to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” (See Reginald Cook, Robert Frost: A Living Voice [Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1974], p. 133.)

而且,由於這一行,使我們無法將這首詩僅僅當著有趣,而必須當著傳統而且清楚的愛國情操。有點像佛洛斯特心裡所想到的,或是有意無意之間,將這首詩與美國國歌「星條旗」相比較。

The key to the irony of the line is the curious phrase “The deed of gift,” which means considerably more than merely “the act of giving.”

這一行反諷的關鍵就在於那古怪的詞語「禮物的契約」,這意味著不僅僅是「送禮物的契約」。

 It is in fact a technical legal term, succinctly defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as “A deed executed and delivered without consideration”that is, without expectation of return, a legal promise to give or donate.

事實上,這是法律上的用詞,在「布拉克法律辭典」中簡明的定義是:「毫無條件地執行及送達的契約」,換言之,,依法承諾要贈送或捐贈,而不要回報。

Frost might have encountered this relatively esoteric term in a purely legal context, but there is reason to believe that it came to him from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, from a passage in which Mephistopheles tells the learned Doctor that he “must bequeath” his soul “solemnly / And write a deed of gift with thine own blood . . .” (II, i. 35-36).

佛洛斯特可能在純粹法律的文章中,遇到這個比較古怪的術語。但是我們有理由相信,他在閱讀英國作家「馬羅」的「浮士德博士」時看到這個術語。有一段,魔鬼梅菲斯特告訴博學的浮士德博士,「他必須尊重其事地放棄他的靈魂,然後用自己的手寫下禮物的契約。」

The phrase occurs again at line 60 (Mephistopheles reminds Faustus to “Write it in manner of a deed of gift,” presumably as opposed to the manner of a contract), and again at line 90 (Faustus calls the completed document “A deed of gift of body and of soul,” though he shrewdly goes on to include “conditions”).

這個詞語再一次發生在六十行那裡,魔鬼梅菲斯特提醒浮士德「要以禮物契約的方式寫下來」,也就是不同於一般的契約行為。在九十行那裡,浮士德稱這份「完成的文件」是「肉體與靈魂的禮物契約」雖然他繼續精明地將「條件」包括在內。

Frost knew this play well, having on one occasion composed a shortened version for a production put on by his students at the Pinkerton Academy. In “New Hampshire” (quoting I. iii. 81), Frost claimed that “Kit Marlowe taught me how to say my prayers: / ‘Why this is Hell, nor am l out of it.” (ll. 242-243). In the play as in the poem, the distinctive peculiarities of the “deed of gift” are that it is sealed in blood and that it involves the giving of the self, body and soul.

佛洛斯特對「浮士德」詩劇耳熟能詳。在屏客頓學院時,有一次他曾將學生所提出的有關浮士德的作品簡短改寫。在「新漢休」那首詩中,佛洛斯特宣稱:「馬羅教導我如何說祈禱詞:為什麼這裡是地獄,而我竟置身其間?」戲劇跟詩的不同在於「禮物契約」的細節是:一個用血當印鑑,而且牽涉自我、肉體與靈魂的給予。

Perhaps the significance of the influence consists mainly in the implication that Frost thought of the development of American national character in terms of the Faust myth.

也許戲劇影響詩的意義主要在於暗示到:佛洛斯特認為美國國家的特性有點像是浮士德的神話。

 Certainly the allusion to Faustus’ compact with Mephistopheles casts a lurid light over Frost’s use of the verb “possess.” If in Frost’s implied scheme one may be “possessed” either by a debilitating God or by an invigorating Satan, it will be seen that we remained weak so long as our political, cultural, and, by extension, our spiritual allegiances were to England, a force which figures in the poem as a distant, invisible, yet powerful governing agency; we remained weak and dependent precisely because we were “withholding” ourselves spiritually from the tempting natural environment that was supporting us materially.

的確,提到浮士德跟魔鬼梅菲斯特的訂約,使詩中佛洛斯特使用動詞「佔有」有了清楚的意涵。假如在佛洛斯特的暗示的詩中,我們可能為軟弱無力的上帝或被意氣風發的撒但魔鬼所佔有,顯而易見地,我們將依舊是軟弱,只要我們的政治、文化,或延伸言之,我們精神的盟友是英國,詩中隱約指出,這個力量雖然遙遠不見,卻是強有力的支配力量。我們之所以依舊軟弱而依賴,主要是因為貪戀自然環境在物質方面支持我們,而使抑制了精神層面的發展。

As in Doctor Faustus, the “deed of gift” invokes the issue of “salvation,” though in Frost’s parable, the Faustian spirit of America is not merely strengthened temporarily and adventitiously as Faustus was, but instead is actually redeemed from weakness by a surrender to and immersion in the violent destructiveness of nature, self-reliance and war.

如同在「浮士德博士」一劇中,「禮物契約」召喚起「救贖」的問題,在佛洛斯特寓言中,美國的浮士德精神不但暫時而巧合地被強化,而實際上的救贖免於軟弱之方,則是要面對大自然的毀滅、人的妄自尊大及戰爭中,體悟到人力不能勝天,而知所收斂。

from The Explicator 38:1 (Fall 1979) pp. 22-23.


William H. Pritchard

[In the poem Frost wrote to read aloud at John F. Kennedys inauguration as President of the United States, he willed] the realities of modern power politics into an alliterative “golden age of poetry and power.”

佛洛斯特寫這首詩,在甘迺迪美國總統就職典禮中朗讀,他希望現代的權力政治現狀能轉換成為詩跟權力的黃金時代。

. . .

Except that, on the occasion, he was unable to read more than a few lines of the poem, troubled as he was by the sun’s glare that bright, cold January day, but at least as much by the poem’s newness to him, his unfamiliarity with and uncertainty about the way it went. Or perhaps, as he had been wont to say about himself, it was a sort of judgment.

除外,在現場,他只能朗讀幾行,因為那個燦爛而寒冷的一月的日子,炫亮的陽光使他飽受困擾。但是如同他自己一貫所常說的,因為這首詩是新作、他對典禮中朗讀並不熟悉,也沒有把握,他還是要接受考驗。

 He had been tempted to believe that it was a great occasion at which he would perform-not just a transfer of power from one party to another, both of which were filled with politicians.

他曾經被誘使相信,那個官蓋雲集的隆重的場合,他不僅可以引導政權由一個政黨轉移到另一個政黨。

 Like many others, he conceived the new president as Young Lochinvar, the perfect combination of spirit and flesh, passion and toughness, poetry and reality, Harvard and Irish.

像其他人一樣,他想像新總統是位年輕的戰神,是精神跟肉體、激情跟強悍、詩與真實、哈佛大學與愛爾蘭血統的完美組合。

It was almost as if, in the language of his poem “Kitty Hawk,” Kennedy had been sent “As a demonstration / That the supreme merit / Lay in risking spirit / In substantiation.”

好像在他的「奇迪老鷹」詩的語言,甘迺迪被遣派前來當「展示最崇高的美德在於冒險犯難的精神,在體現的行為當中。」

 And Frost wrote the extravagant words about the “next Augustan age,” as if by proclaiming them he could help it come into being, could substantiate it.

佛洛斯特用華麗的詞藻描述「下一個奧古斯汀的時代」,好像憑著他的宣佈,他能有助於時代的來臨,能夠使它實現。

 But the poet was old, the flesh was weak, and he could not utter the words he had written. At this moment of disaster, he called on some resource and rose to a level in every way superior to the pumped-up one of the new poem’s advertisement.

但是詩人老矣,肉體虛弱,他寫好了卻無力朗讀。在災難的那一刻,他發揮臨場機智,表現的水平,道道地地還遠優於原來已經廣告出去的預備要朗讀的新詩。

 Putting behind him the stumbling uncertainties of voice and tone which characterized his attempt to deliver the new poem, he fell back on an old one he knew perfectly, and in the most splendidly commanding of voices read “The Gift Outright” impeccably: “The land was ours before we were the land’s

他企圖發表這首新詩,但聲音卻是結結巴巴,只好將詩搞擱置一旁。他轉而求助於另一首他耳熟能詳的舊作,然後以鏗鏘有力的聲音背誦「無條件的禮物」

.” His performance thus attained a dramatic, even a heroic quality, which it would otherwise have lacked if things had gone off perfectly. The imperfect version had more of “life” in it: in the midst of flattery and display, the sound of sense suddenly and movingly made itself felt.

他的表現因此帶有戲劇性,甚至是英雄般的特質。假如當時一切進行如儀,這種特質反而呈現。在滿場浮誇恭維的氣氛中,這首詩雖然不甚理想,卻是有更多的生命力,突然而動人地,使人更能感受到其音調意境之美。

From Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered. Copyright ?1984 by William Pritchard.


Mordecai Marcus

Here Frost presents himself as spokesperson for Americans and adopts a tone of grieving and longing desperation that slowly yields to love and triumph.

佛洛斯特呈現自己作為美國的代言人,採用一種痛苦而絕望似的渴望的語調,慢慢才屈服於愛跟勝利。

The poem opens by describing the American people’s first possession of their land merely as land–before they also belonged to the land–partly because the people were subservient to their English masters.

這首詩開始先描述美國人首次佔有他們的土地僅僅當著土地,在他們跟土地有歸屬感以前。部分原因是當時的人們順服於英國的主人。

 With “Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,” a partly sexual metaphor is extensively punned on.

「擁有我們依舊尚未被宰制的領域」這一句部分帶有性暗示的比喻廣泛瀰漫。

We were unpossessed because ownership of the land was denied us by England and because we did not give ourselves to the land in the spiritual and physical union love demands.

我們沒有佔有,因為英國拒絕給我們土地所有權,因為我們並沒有奉獻於土地,以愛所要求的精神跟肉體的結合。

 A variation of this idea is in the next line, “Possessed by what we now no more possessed,” which means that as we began a deep involvement, it was denied by the foreigners who still ruled.

這個觀念的變化在第二行「也尚未喪失目前我們已經淪喪的東西」,意味著:當我們開始深切關懷土地時,當時統治的英國人拒絕給予我們。

These limitations were overcome when Americans realized they had to give themselves in an act of passionate surrender, for to give oneself “outright” means to do so immediately and totally, as lovers do. Again Frost puns: “deed of gift” as “deeds of war” refers to certificates of possession and sacrificial acts of possession. The land “vaguely realized itself westward” because the action proceeded spontaneously over a long period but led to a crystallization resembling the nation’s birth. This vagueness is shown by the country’s being “still unstoried, artless, unenhanced” as its development continued, which echoes the earlier unpossession and creates a sense of unformed spaces that have not yet achieved their myths. John Doyle points out that “artless” means simple and sincere as well as without works of art. In the high sense of convincing story and belief, these myths are projected forward in the last line, with its curious perspective from the past: looking at the present and the still-hoped-for future and asserting that they will become reality.

From The Poems of Robert Frost: an explication. Copyright ?1991 by Mordecai Marcus.


Jay Parini

One can hardly imagine a better brief description of our national history than Frost’s image of “the land vaguely realizing westward.” Both “vaguely” and “realizing” are unexpected, and perfect. The poet gets the haphazard, unplanned quality of the process in the former term and underscores the seeming historic inevitability of it in the latter; in Frost’s version of social Darwinism, morality is stripped to the bare essentials: there were millions of strong transplanted Europeans in the East, and they would eventually need room to expand; they had greater numbers and better weapons than the native people, so they overcame them; indeed, they nearly wiped them out altogether! That they remained “unstoried, artless, unenhanced” is also part of the story, and Frost does not (as a lesser, merely patriotic poet might have done) overly praise these conquerors, who even seem more like a virus than a nation.

From Robert Frost: A Life. Copyright ?1999 by Jay Parini.


Bob Perelman

There was the very effective moment of performance when Frost gave up on the physical and intellectual distances involved in reading off a page and gazed out at the nation and recited, directly from his body as it were, “The Gift Outright,” a poem which also insisted on a mystic connection between body and world: “The land was ours before we were the land’s.”

These simple words are eminently tricky: Frost is celebrating manifest destiny, but history is kept in decidedly soft focuses. . . .

After this beginning, political and historic specifics fade into even more elemental arrangements. Questions of who, at different times, lived on the land and named it are sidestepped. Jerome McGann notes this evasion: the Native American name Massachusetts “reminds us that this supremely Anglo-American poem cannot escape or erase a history that stands beyond its white myth of Manifest Destiny”; Massachusetts reveals Virginia as a “lying, European word.” There are no more proper names after the three mentioned above; the rhetoric subsides into general considerations of ownership. The land becomes a woman, making us a corporate male that needs to make her ours; and the passage of historical time gives way to the drama of sexualized geopolitical possession with only a before and an after. Strength is crucially at issue in this Oedipal question, but it masked by a rhetoric of religious self-sacrifice:

Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding …
. . .[we] found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright

“Giving ourselves” can be understood innocently as knowing a place well, clearing forests and cultivating farms. The land that is rhetorically the recipient of our gift and in reality the object of our possession is kept quite general and thus, beyond the poem, has room for many adherents from John Wayne in Red River to current ecological sensibilities expressed by poets such as Wendell Berry.

But the next lines reveal the limitations of the capacious optimism of the poem:

        we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward.

The play on “deed of gift” / “deeds of war” does not exclude any war from the single act of giving ourselves to and taking possession of America; but the fact that war is the crucial act does exclude women from the large “we” the poem invokes. The mention of war only in parentheses and the cloudy uplift of the language keep particulars at bay; but “westward,” even if it’s qualified by “vaguely realizing,” is still specific enough to implicate the Indian wars. If the 1942 publication date of the poem is kept in mind, “westward” stretches to–or at least gestures toward–the Pacific Theater of the Second World War.

If the date of the inaugural recitation is kept in mind, then the meaning of the poem can stretch still further to foreshadow the Vietnam War. Clearly, such a reference is foreign to the poem as a specific act of writing that took place in 1942, but the poem’s own prophetic-colloquial invocation of manifest destiny invites such expansion. Such vague but compelling terms as “us” and “land” were central to the rhetoric under which the war was conducted, as “we” “fought for freedom,” wherever it was deemed necessary by the war managers, trying to win “hearts and minds”: in this context “vaguely realizing westward” points directly at South Vietnam. Of course, Robert Frost was not Robert McNamara or General Westmoreland. As a political act, his recitation was a minor ornament. But in terms of the explicit or subterranean political allegiances of poetry, Frost’s position–lone sage facing and possessing the landscape for the nation–is an affirmation of the American status quo that is difficult for poets to ignore.

From The Marginalization of Poetry: Language Writing and Literary History. Copyright ?1996 by Princeton University Press.


Derek Walcott

On that gusting day of the inauguration of the young emperor, the sublime Augustan moment of a country that was not just a republic but also an empire, no more a homespun vision of pioneer values but a world power, no figure was more suited to the ceremony than Robert Frost. He had composed a poem for the occasion, but he could not read it in the glare and the wind, so instead he recited one that many had heard and perhaps learned by heart.

The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people.

This was the calm reassurance of American destiny that provoked Tonto’s response to the Lone Ranger. No slavery, no colonization of Native Americans, a process of dispossession and then possession, but nothing about the dispossession of others that this destiny demanded. The choice of poem was not visionary so much as defensive. A Navajo hymn might have been more appropriate: the “ours” and the “we” of Frost were not as ample and multihued as Whitman’s tapestry, but something as tight and regional as a Grandma Moses painting, a Currier and Ives print, strictly New England in black and white.

By then as much an emblem of the republic as any rubicund senator with his flying white hair, an endangered species like a rare owl, there was the old poet who, between managing the fluttering white hair and the fluttering white paper, had to recite what sounded more like an elegy than a benediction. “The land was ours before we were the land’s” could have had no other name, not only because he was then in his old age, but because all his spirit and career, like Thomas Hardy’s, lurched toward a wintry wisdom.

from “The Road Taken.” In Brodsky, Joseph, Seamus Heaney, and Derek Walcott (eds.) Homage to Robert Frost. New York: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux, 1996.


雄伯手記9513

February 11, 2008

              E0825

 

莎士比亞的「李爾王」King Lear 跟「馬克白」Macbeth,對於英文系畢業的人固然早已經是耳熟能詳。但是一看到貨架上的VCD,還是逡巡徘徊,最後還忍不住地購下。其幻覺當然在於:原文詞藻文句之美,若再配之以逐字對照的音調鏗鏘之壯,當是一種細讀品嚐之樂罷?只是開學以後,課業繁重,是否仍然也有此閒情逸致,就不得而知了。

 

又順便購得「湯默士、曼」Thomas Mann 的「魂斷威尼斯」Death in Venice,由「維斯康堤」所導演。頹廢情調之引人入勝,幾乎到達「戀死」的境界,若僅是當著同性戀電影來看,可就有點暴殄天物了。

 

另外,由BBC 所拍攝的「珍、奧斯汀」Jane Austin 的「傲慢與偏見」Pride and Prejudice,是以前大一時整整讀了一年的課。如今心血來潮再予購置,其動機是希望能在下學期的「文學概論」選修課中派上用場。畢竟對於青春期的女學生,這種男女情愛的故事,會比殺伐的野心劇來得有興趣多了。更何況從網路上下載到劇文的台詞scripts,充當上課的講義,該是水到渠成的時候了。

 

    劇中Darcy 傲慢,Elizabeth 偏見,相處久了,才都發現彼此的不是,衝突矛盾中,勇於面對自己,反躬自省而改善之,最後終於互相接納而皆大歡喜。反觀現實人生中,偏見與傲慢兼備於一身者,可以說是比比皆是,會不會反躬自省,使自己人生導向悲劇還是喜劇,就看每個人生命的造化了。

 

    如荀子「解蔽篇」所言,「凡人之大患,蔽於一曲,而闇於大理」。對人對事對物的拘於成見,大概都是難免的。記得月初在南二高竹山附近的休息站觀看路線圖,一直不明白:北二高跟南二高在新竹與南投之間突然迂迴般轉移到中山高的左邊去了,為什麼不直線聯成一貫?及至自己驅車行經連結中間的快速道路,看到兩邊熱鬧繁華的台中市區及蒸蒸日上的台中港,終於明白:兩點之間,直線最短,但不是地理上或心理上的直線,而是經濟效益的直線。

 

   週六中午吃過午餐後,心血來潮地想:不要老是霸佔著客廳,就獨自一人驅車沿著東海岸直往台東方向。但沒有進入市區,而是沿著山脈稜線小路,一邊居高臨下觀看一望無際的太平洋,另一邊是沐浴於幽深雅致的山澗山谷之間。只是颱風過後,坍塌的石頭及泥濘甚多,再加上大部分路段連柏油路面都沒有,崎嶇兼險峻,心情的喜樂與後悔抉擇的猛浪交相更迭。最後終於在天黑以前,從關山出來。

雄伯手記9512

February 11, 2008

E0824

 

   日本親鸞教的淨土真宗思想,主張不斷的聽經聞法,,然後再自我懺悔而誠意接受阿彌陀佛救濟恩典的那一片刻,,亦即內心對於恩典表示感激的那一剎那,也就是往生淨土的當機。有無「南無阿彌陀佛」的稱名念佛已經不重要,遑論是一念、十念還是百念;重要的是,深信必定往生淨土的至誠心,即是「一心」。

 

   此一信心即是淨土、即是涅槃。捨此之外,別無淨土或涅槃。親鸞稱此為依彌陀本願的他力救濟,有別於「聖道門」禪宗頓悟的自力難行道。兩種法門過程雖然不同,基本上的原則是一樣的:也就信仰觀念從世俗的倫理或功利價值觀,改變到超越生死的涅槃觀。不管是頓悟、看開、得道、解脫、或得救,都必須牽涉到觀念、甚至意識型態的改變。

 

   台大地質系教授楊,酒酣耳熱之際也開始侃侃而談人生觀:「人的肉體終有一天會死亡,但是精神靈魂不會死,因為我們的子女會延續下去。」這種儒家傳統倫理學,再加上生物學的精子與卵子的結合的科學依據合併起來,就成為他精神不滅的永生信仰。然而這種論證其實需要一個基本的前提:自己家庭和樂美滿,子女成材而且孝順。否則反而成為精神不快樂的、更不用說是不死的壓力。

 

    無論如何,跟所有的宗教信仰一樣,只要你自己堅信不移,至少在主觀感覺上,永生的信念是可以成立的。在你閉眼瞑目的那一剎那,足以安慰對於肉身澌滅,及死亡空無的恐懼就夠了。至於客觀上的事實是否能夠繼續驗證下去,一方面又不關別人的事,另一方面,反正自己也死無對證,就不要猛追窮打了。最怕的是像蘇俄作家「扥爾斯泰」在「伊凡之死」中所描述的,在未死之前,許多信仰的事實反證就開始歷歷在目,讓你想信都信不下去。

 

    觀看古今文學、哲學、或宗教,發現有一奇怪的的共同現象:起初只是在疏解對於肉身死亡的恐懼與憂慮,而提倡精神或靈魂的不朽。到後來卻變成對於死亡的讚嘆,甚至還鼓勵主動迎向前去,視死甘如貽,形同自殺不僅有理,而且還甚為美好的理論依據。

 

 

雄伯舊記9511

February 11, 2008

E1123

 

   親鸞在破除我執方面下了一番反省檢討的功夫,才會講得出:「我從未曾有過弟子。我從未曾弘法,我只是引渡大家信佛而已。死後把我丟近賀茂河,心的葬禮才是重要。往生不體失,活的時候就要救。」

 

基本上,這樣是更接近佛陀的原始精神應該是毫無疑義的。釋迦牟尼傳中也曾記載佛陀往生時自云:「我從未曾轉過一日法輪。」金剛經亦云:「法不可執,何況非法?」至於從無弟子之說,信仰體悟本來就是依法不依人,免得因為弟子的多少而生患得患失之心。不體失往生,則是他頗具卓見的智慧。引用的理論是「大無量壽經」的「若不生者,不取生覺」。而且將它解釋成為:「死或生,並不是僅指肉體。比肉體更重要的更需重視心,才是佛教。阿彌陀如來發誓,將我們黑暗的心,轉生為光明的心。」

 

親鸞四歲喪父、八歲喪母、九歲就出家當沙彌,整天念佛、打坐、鈔經、行戒律、做法事,到二十九歲終於醒悟,這種自力修行的聖道門,心和語言都不能及,難行難渡,哪能濟事?於是除了緊緊攀住「無量壽經」的「當來之世,經道滅盡,我以慈悲哀泯、特留此經」外,其他什麼都不信了,索性自己也娶妻肉食生小孩。他一廂情願的解釋是:佛是平等智慧光,不論僧侶或在家眾,只要你一心信念阿彌陀佛他都救。這對於望浩瀚經典而興嘆、視苦行戒律為畏途、厭惡法事儀式的虛偽斂財的一般俗眾而言,倒像是一針見血的對症下藥。

 

由於缺乏經驗,我將漂白洗衣精直接灑點在要清洗的衣服上,結果衣服被染成一大塊一大塊土灰色。尤其看到上千元以上購買的上衣,竟因此而必須報廢,,心頭的感受當然不是很好。這使我聯想到,世間許多原先是用來救助、幫忙、或方便人類的東西,由於使用不當,或原先就有其副作用的藥物秘方或異端邪說,反而成為戕害性靈肉體的殺手,電視及報紙的報導不是日有所聞嗎?因此,盡信廣告不如無廣告的懷疑主義,受騙、受害的次數多了,必然會進展到盡信醫不如無醫,盡信政治語言不如乾脆不去投票的自力救濟。最後僅剩的一道解藥大概是:「拜託!你就信我這一次罷!」

 

明知這一大把年歲,不應該再去染指新的語言。可是,看到滿書架W所購置的日本親鸞教的日文書籍及雜誌,又覺得不看白不看,可惜錢也。這一兩天,,趁著學生考試的空檔,利用電腦日文辭典以及輸入法的方便,邊查邊輸入,外加排序的功能,一邊閱讀,一邊編輯一套屬於自己的日文注音字典。心裡也明知這種躐等的速食方式,不足為取,卻還是像上癮般地耗了兩三天的時辰,而把其他跟教學工作有關的閱讀跟編輯都給耽誤了下來。

 

逆向的思考是:若現在是退休的狀態,以目前這樣的專注研讀下去,要在一年半載之內熟稔日文的閱讀,至少熟稔有關親鸞教的經文閱讀和理解,並不是不可能的事。這當然又回到值不值得,以及何所為而為的老問題。因為我這個人懷疑主義的根性太濃,好奇地將宗教跟日文的學習混合在一起玩索一下無妨,要我盡棄其他,一心專念大概是難矣哉。容優柔寡斷的我再猶豫思考一陣子罷!

 

日本作家三島由紀夫有本小說「金閣寺」,描述一位聰慧敏感的沙彌,本來具有被培養成為寺院主持的潛力跟厚望。卻因為自己追求真理的耽美嚮往,而又

在成長過程中觀察到太多行屍走肉般的虛假偽善,諸如法事的斂財、念佛的虛應故事、寺院人事的權力爭奪、甚至僧侶的背後食肉召妓。他最後終於什麼都不信了,索性一把火將整個寺院焚毀,享受叛逆的「燃燒罷!火鳥」的殉道快感。

 

雄伯舊記9510

February 11, 2008

E1122

 

利用監考的前夜及剩餘的一整天空檔,將親鸞的教行信證、歎異鈔、及高森顯徹的淨土本願問答錄,粗略地看了一遍。對於這位食肉娶妻、非僧非俗的他力教教主,我不禁地好奇起來。他的著作不多,譯成中文後其實只有那薄薄幾本,而且還是他早年出家時,勤勉苦讀詳加註釋的「無量壽經」和「阿彌陀經」。他的可貴之處,一言以敝之,就是在於他的真誠。因為他個性上的真誠,他無法滿足於當佛教界虛應故事的偽善,並且像伊索寓言「國王的新衣」的那位純真的小孩,坦率地一語道破。在念佛的奉行跟一念的信仰之間,他不僅選擇了後者,還悍然地排斥前者得救的可能,而使自己陷入受人圍剿的局面。也因為他自己的真誠,他毫不留情將法事、占卜、以及傳統的佛教膜拜及念佛的儀式,一概以近乎科學實事求是的精神,直接斥之為迷信。也就是在形式化的象徵跟內涵的真實之間,他毫無妥協的空間。這個教派只要稱「阿彌陀佛」的名號,其他佛像佛具一概全都免了。你只要不斷地聽經聞法,就能得到喜忍、信忍或悟忍的境界。

 

這使我不禁聯想到我最近在研讀的美國作家「薩林傑」Jerome David Salinger的「麥田捕手」Catcher in the Rye。在成年人的眼光中被學校退學的「荷頓」Holden是迷失叛逆的十六歲少年。在設法尋求溝通理解的兩天的遭遇當中,不論是跟家中父母、朋儕、跟老師、跟修女或跟社會人士的接觸,他所見所聞的律師或醫生,都還是逃離不了私自為利為慾望的偽善和虛假phony。他最後的希望是能夠像英國詩人Robert Burns 詩中所描述的麥田捕手:守候在懸崖邊,救助在麥田裡打球遊戲,不小心衝過麥田的小孩,免於摔落。象徵上的意義是:他的志向是要拯救青少年的純真與真誠,不要在成長後受到社會腐敗、妥協、虛偽的影響。

 

然而青少年的成長,本質上受到整個社會的價值體系所制約,實在不是任何單獨個人所能為力的。如同英國作家「懷特」E.B.White 在散文「門」The Door所描述的:現代人的成長像在心理實驗室中接受制約反應訓練的老鼠。每次跳過正確的門檻後,就有美味的食物等待他們。後來,門背後的酬勞改變,老鼠都變得神經質地不安騷亂起來。

 

First they would they would teach you the prayers and the Psalms, and that would be the right door…and the long sweet words with the holy sound, and that would be the one to jump at to get where the food was. Then one day you mumped and it didn’t give way, so that all you got was a bump on the nose, and the first bewilderment, the first young bewilderment.

 

起初他們教你祈禱詞和聖詩,那就是正確的門檻。只要你能背誦那些長長的甜美的神聖的聲音,你就可以跳過去得到你所要的食物。然後有一天你照常地跳,卻發現門根本不開,你碰了一鼻子灰腫,首次感到困惑,青春的首次困惑。

 

雄伯舊記9509

February 11, 2008

E1119

 

不能免於世俗的確是我知識人格的一大矛盾。正如一方面授業說教:盲目愛慕名牌虛榮的不智,另一方面自己身上仍然穿著W早先為我購置的名牌標籤的衣服。儘管在理論與感覺上都不喜歡交際應酬場合的虛假,卻仍然礙於情面去參加。

 

只要上了陣仗,虛於委蛇的功夫誰人不會?基本的要領是多聽少說,或者盡說些順著人家的言不由衷的場面話。一但說真話的念頭蠢蠢欲動,那表示已經有微醺的跡象,就要開始自我警惕。坐在對面的美艷少婦嬌瞋地對丈夫埋怨:「你都給我夾這道虛情菜?」台語諧音「給寧菜」被運用到這個場合倒是第一次聽到,忍不住地給她加碼:「真誠真情本來就是人間最難得的東西!」她居然也認同地點點頭。

 

不禁想到昨天晚上,前來聊天的S所抱怨的:「某甲也虛假,某乙也虛假。真是跟他們相處得很沒意思。更令人傷感的是,連幾十年的老同學G,也只是虛假地利用。」想想看,一向無話不說的莫逆之交偶爾到外頭逢場作戲,竟然還爭風吃醋地互相揭對方的底牌。「這一次我絕對不原諒他!」他咬牙切齒地說。

 

這使我想到英國作家「福勒斯」John Fowles 所寫的「金檀塔」The Ebony Tower,描述一位年輕的帥哥藝術評論家,前往採訪隱居荒僻湖邊的老畫家,發現有兩位年輕貌美的女子居然心甘情願地伴隨。他好奇地試探誘拐他們,最後功敗垂成,原因很簡單:自己的生命缺乏真誠。當他走下回到倫敦飛機時,在機場迎接他的是貌美嬌妻,跟牽著手的兩個幼兒。他俯身擁吻妻子兒女的鏡頭,跟在湖邊誘拐時的信誓旦旦,剛好構成一幅虛假的對比。

 

G前兩年有喪妻之痛,當時由於初識並無交情未往弔唁。如今同桌餐宴,正交談愉快間,走過來一年輕貌美的女子,他大方地介紹:「這是我的太太!」困惑中心頭不免百感交集。想到「紅樓夢」的「好了歌」:人人都道神仙好,唯有嬌妻忘不了,君生日日說溫情,君死又隨人去了。」東風惡、歡情薄的現實應用到男女身上,其實都大同小異。

 

回到家,翻一翻美國作家「索婁、貝羅」Saul Bellow的的現代小說「何索」Herzog ,描寫一位中年的大學教授,因為妻子的離婚改嫁,而使自己傳統家庭價值的倫理體系作為生命的信仰,為之分崩離析:

 

“ Don’t abuse yourself too much, Luke, and cook up these fantastic plots against your feelings. I know, you’re a good soul, with real heartaches. And you believe the world. And the world tells you to look for truth in grotesque combinations. It warns you also to stay away from consolation if you value your intellectual honor. “

 

不要太凌虐你自己了,陸克,你光虛構一些不實的情節,徒然使自己覺得不舒服而已。我知道你是一位好人,真正感到心痛。你相信這個世界,而世界告訴你要在光怪陸離中尋找真理。世界也警告你,若要重視智識方面的真誠,就別找藉口自我安慰。

 

On this theory truth is punishment, and you take it like a man. It says truth will harrow your soul because your inclination as a poor human thing is to lie and to live by lies. So if you have anything else waiting in your soul to be revealed you’ll never learn about from these people.

 

根據這個理論,真理是一種處罰,你必須像男子漢般承受。它說真理會燒炙你的靈魂,因為芸芸眾生的習性就是說謊,並且依靠說謊而活。所以假如你的靈魂渴望能有什麼天啟,你可別承朢在這些俗眾裡尋找。