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丽莎·戈顿:同穿山甲一起封城

来源:中国作家网 | 丽莎·戈顿  2020年12月11日16:07

今年我在和吉拉蒙多文学出版社做诗歌编辑。墨尔本封城的时候,我正在编辑李栋翻译的宋琳诗集《采撷者之诗》。

这本诗集非常美。同诗集相同标题的长诗是这样开头的:

用山鹑的方言呼唤着跑出房子

蓝浆果里的声音我还能听见

雷达站,木轮车,童年的山冈

整个夏天我们都在寻找

坡地开阔而平缓,死者的瓮

半埋着。荒凉的词,仿佛涂上了蜜……

宋琳的诗闪烁着童年的影像,以及散落在广漠的历史平原上残骸的近景。墨尔本封城的第一个月里,我每天都会在家跟前的街道和公园走一个小时,我也走进了宋琳诗歌里的国度。

*

封城的日子里,我用空闲的时间写了一首诗,关于穿山甲的诗。穿山甲是地球上遭受最严重非法贩运的哺乳动物;它们死于囚禁中。

今天我想读一下这首诗,因为当我们两国政府的争吵上了新闻头条时,我读宋琳的诗歌的体验让我意识到诗歌和小说本身可以为我们创造一个共享的国度,当然是通过翻译。

我在二月开始写这首有关穿山甲的诗时,中国科学家沈永义和肖立华宣布新冠基因组的一部分同穿山甲身上的新冠病毒有99%的相似度。三月,一支由美国科学家克里斯蒂安·安德森领导的科研小组在《自然医学》上发表了他们的分析,称也许是蝙蝠身上的新冠病毒转移到了人体;或者也可能是蝙蝠与穿山甲在囚禁状态下,它们各自的新冠病毒在同一宿主身上相遇,然后重新组合成为新冠肺炎病毒。

在澳大利亚不是经常会听到穿山甲,但是八年前令人赞叹的美国诗人玛丽安·穆尔写了一首诗,叫《穿山甲》。我的诗有一部分是对她的一行诗句的反思,这行诗句是:如果现存的一切不是永恒的。玛丽安·穆尔写下这首《穿山甲》多年之后,我想在我们所有的意象中,我们失去了自然界会永不停止地更新自身这样的信念。

这首诗是按照斐波那契数列写的,按照1,2,3,5,8,13或者21个音节,反映处穿山甲鳞甲的螺旋上升。

“神奇”

如果现存的一切不是永恒的

- 玛丽安·穆尔《穿山甲》

 

它有它的

体系 – 带鳞甲的哺乳动物可以

将自己蜷起来,在

盔甲里抵御掉进狮子的大口

它没有牙齿,它的

腹部裸露着

它面对的唯一猎食者是人类 –

同样适应于

干燥广漠的草地和赤道雨林

它行走在河道上 – 哈伊根·范林斯霍滕,一位

在果阿的荷兰人,

当渔民们打捞上来一个穿山甲,他们以为它是

一条怪鱼 –

它中间部分跟狗大小,

大象脚,

像野猪哼哼 –

它从头到脚全部装在鳞甲里

比铁还坚硬

或者钢 –

铁砧轻轻地推动着,

他们用武器在砍着它 – 然后

它蜷起身体

怎么也撬不开 – 它的

图片,因神奇,他们送给西班牙国王 –

在眼皮的小袋子里它的

近乎失明的圆圆的黑眼睛写下

下面 –

看到它 –

循味就可找到它,它

行动的方式 – 穿过

广漠平原一般的地带或者湿乎乎的

腐叶堆积上面笔直的树 –

可以解决问题

描述一个在思考的头脑这样概念

就不同行动分离

体验概念的行动 –

想像一下头脑巧妙地

往前思考

肯定是在不可预见的思路上

到达地点 –

当它

抵达它时,它

鼻孔紧闭眼睛紧闭头先冲进

冲进它喜欢的 –

它在蚂蚁中沐浴,它

很独特

扭动着它的舌头(任意

拉出

从它好像秃铅笔头的鼻子)

觉得味道不对 -

接着到了后腿 – 它的

长着手指一样长的爪子的手,一只蜷起来

搭在另一只上,或者

有时拍打着 – 它可以

雕刻水泥地 –

它的尾巴使它保持平衡

像是箍裙一样挺直

竖立

(每年带着自然丝一般

粉色之字形边

小穿山甲转来转去)

在下面的腿行走时带着

与之不相符的轻松

在盔甲之下意想不到 –

它的盔甲不是穿上去的 –

像蛇头的头盔在

项背上的两眼之间分散

在重叠的带着棱的扇贝般的赭色鳞甲里,

琥珀色,橄榄棕色

每片鳞甲的边都呈较浅色

所以当它走动时 – 带着

一浪接着一浪

行走在树干上或者在

深夜的草原上好似完整

不破的浪 – 那些重复

多样的鳞甲闪着亮光

好像遵循成长的原则 – 每一个

替代了另一个

消失之时 – 就好像现存的一切可以永

恒 -

它没有牙齿,它的

腹部裸露着 –

它面对的唯一猎食者是人类 - 

(翻译:韩静)

Lockdown with Pangolins

Lisa Gordon

This year I started working as a poetry editor for Giramondo Publishing. When lockdown started in Melbourne, I was editing Dong Li’s translation of Song Lin’s poetry collection The Gleaner Song.

This is a beautiful collection. Its long title poem starts:

Calling out in a partridge’s dialect while running out of the house, I could hear a voice in the blueberries:

radar station, wooden carriage, childhood hillocks that we had been looking for all summer.

The slopes open and smooth, the urn of the dead half buried. Bleak words, as if dipped in honey…

Song Lin’s poetry is lit up with images of childhood, closely-seen landscapes set on vast plains of history strewn with wreckage. Through the first month of Melbourne’s lockdown, I had daily hour-long walks through my local streets and parks and I had voyages into the country of Song Lin’s poetry.

In my lockdown I spent my spare time writing a poem about pangolins: the most- trafficked mammals on earth; they die in captivity.

Today I’ll read this poem because my experience of reading Song Lin’s poetry while our governments argued in headlines brought home how poetry and fiction alone make for us a shared country—ruled by translators.

I started writing about pangolins when, in February, Chinese scientists Yongyi Shen and Lihua Xiao announced that a section of the Covid-19 genome is 99% similar to

that of a pangolin coronavirus. In March, a team led by American scientist Kristian Anderson published analysis in Nature Medicine suggesting two possibilities: perhaps the bat coronavirus mutated in a human host; or perhaps the bat and pangolin coronaviruses met in the same host, in captivity, and recombined to create Covid-19.

*

Pangolins are not often heard of here but, eighty years ago, the marvelous American poet Marianne Moore wrote a poem called ‘The Pangolin’. My poem was partly a reflection on a line in her poem: ‘if that which is at all were not forever’. In the years since Marianne Moore wrote ‘The Pangolin’ we have lost, I think, such conviction that the natural world can renew itself perpetually, at the back of all our imagery.

The poem is written in Fibonacci syllabics—in lines with one, two, three, five, eight, thirteen or twenty-one syllables—reflecting how a pangolin spirals up in itself.

*

MIRABILIA

 

if that which is at all were not forever

—Marianne Moore, ‘The Pangolin’

 

It is its

own order—scaled mammal that can spiral itself in

armour safe in the lion’s jaws— it is toothless, its

belly is naked, its only predator is man—

Adept alike of

dry savannah and equatorial canopies

it walks on riverbeds—Huyghen van Linschoten, a Dutchman in Goa,

when fishers hauled one out, thought it a strange fish—

it being middle-sized-dog sized, elephant-footed,

snorting like a hog—

its head tail legs all cased in scales harder than iron

or steel—

mild moving anvil,

they hewed at it with weapons—and

it rolled up

and could not be prised open—its

picture, for a wonder, they sent to the King of Spain—

In the pouch of its eyelid its

near-blind round black eye has written underneath—

I

have seen it—

It goes by smell, its

way of going—through

the vast plain-like stretches or dank leafmould straight up trees—

could solve the problem

of depicting a mind thinking so that the idea is not separate from the act

of experiencing it— imagined mind that goes subtly

reasoning forwards on an unforseen line surely to the place—

when it

comes to it, it goes

nose shut ears shut eyes shut headfirst into what it likes—

it bathes in ants, it

is particular—

wries its tongue (free-drawn

line out

from its snout’s blunted pencil tip) against a wrong taste—

It goes on hind legs—its finger- length-clawed hands it folds

one over another or at

times taps down—it can carve concrete—

its tail its counterweight it holds with hoopskirt-like up-

rightness

(yearly with raw silk pink pinking-shear-trimmed

pangopup bustle) under which its legs go with a

separate light ease unexpected under armour— its armour is not put on—the

snake’s head helmet be- tween its eyes at its nape outspreads

in overlapping scallop-shell-ridged scales of ochre,

amber, olive-brown each edged with lighter bands

so when it goes—with wave-through-wave

movement along a branch or in night grasslands as one

unbroken wave—those repeating varied scales track light

like a principle of growth—each one replacing each

other’s vanishing—as if that which is could be for-

ever—

It is toothless, its belly is naked—

its only predator is man—

 

Note: some phrases are taken from Jan Huyghen van Linchoten’s travel writing, Randall Jarrell’s review of Elizabeth Bishop (‘written underneath, “I have seen it”’), and Marianne Moore’s letter to Ezra Pound (‘could solve the problem of depicting a mind thinking so that the idea is not separate from the act of experiencing it’).