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      英語世界
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      A Hunger for Words
      發布時間:2021年04月01日     楊顏彥 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      A Hunger for Words1

      對文字感到饑渴


      By Peter Svetina

      文/彼得·斯韋蒂納


      Where I live, bushes turn green in late April or early May, and are soon populated by butterfly cocoons. These look like wads of cotton or candy floss, and the pupae devour leaf after leaf until the bushes are stripped bare2. When developed, the butterflies fly away, however, the bushes have not been destroyed. As summer comes around, they turn green again, each and every time.


      在我住的地方,每到四月末或五月初,灌木吐綠,很快便會掛滿蝴蝶的繭,看起來像一團團棉花或棉花糖。幼蟲吃掉一片又一片葉子,直至灌木變得光禿,破繭成蝶后便紛飛而去。但灌木的生機并未斷絕,待夏天來臨又會重新吐綠,年年如此。


      This is a picture of a writer, a picture of a poet. They’re eaten away, bled dry by their stories and poetry, which, when they’re finished, fly away, retire into books and find their audience. This happens again and again.


      這便是作家和詩人的寫照。他們嘔心瀝血,為創作故事和詩歌殫精竭慮;作品一經完成就飛走了,落入書頁,去到讀者手中。如此這般,循環往復。


      And what happens with these poems and stories?


      那么這些詩歌和故事會如何呢?


      I know a boy who had to have eye surgery. For two weeks after the operation, he was only allowed to lie on his right side, and after that was not permitted to read anything for a month. As he finally got hold of a book after a month and a half, he felt as if he was scooping up words from a bowl with a spoon. As if he was eating them. Actually eating them.


      我認識一個男孩,他做了眼科手術,術后兩周只能朝右側臥,再之后一個月不許他看書。一個半月后,當他終于捧起一本書,感覺自己就像是從碗里舀出一勺又一勺的文字,仿佛在吞食這些文字,真的將它們吃進肚子里。


      And I know a girl who grew up to be a teacher. She has told me: Children who hadn’t been read to by their parents are impoverished3.


      我還認識一個女孩,長大后當了老師。她曾告訴我,父母不曾讀書給他們聽的孩子,其精神是貧瘠的。


      Words in poetry and in stories are food. Not food for the body, not food that can fill up your stomach. But food for the spirit and food for the soul.


      詩歌與故事中的文字就是食物,不是身體所需的食物,不是填飽胃袋的食物,而是精神的食糧,是心靈的食糧。


      When one is hungry or thirsty, their stomach contracts and their mouth turns dry. They look for anything to eat, a piece of bread, a bowl of rice or corn, a fish or a banana. The hungrier they grow, the narrower becomes their focus, they become blind to everything but the food that could sate them.


      人在饑渴時,胃會收縮,嘴巴會發澀。他們會尋找吃的,一片面包,一碗米飯或玉米粒,一條魚,或者一根香蕉。越是饑餓,關注點就越是狹小,除了能飽腹的食物,對其他一切視若無睹。


      The hunger for words manifests itself differently: as gloominess, obliviousness, arrogance. People suffering from this sort of hunger don’t realize their souls are shivering cold, that they’re walking past themselves without noticing. A part of their world is running away from them without them being aware of it.


      與腹中饑餓不同,對文字感到饑渴時,人會變得精神沮喪、感覺麻木、狂妄自大。承受這種饑餓的人意識不到他們的靈魂正打著寒戰,意識不到不經意間他們的肉身與靈魂正擦身而過。在他們的世界里,有些東西在遠去,可他們卻毫無察覺。

       詩歌

      This type of hunger is sated by poetry and stories.


      這種饑餓需要詩歌和故事來填補。


      But is there hope for those who have never indulged in words to ever satisfy this hunger?


      不過,那些從未徜徉于文字的人,他們還有希望消除這種饑餓嗎?


      There is. The boy reads, almost every day. The girl who had grown up to be a teacher reads stories to her pupils. Every Friday. Every week. If she ever forgets, the children are sure to remind her.


      當然有。做了眼科手術的男孩現在幾乎每天閱讀;長大當了老師的女孩每周五都會給她的學生講故事,一周不落。就算她忘了,孩子們也一定會提醒她。


      And what about the writer and the poet? As summer comes, they’ll turn green again4. And again, they’ll be eaten away by their stories and their poems that will then fly away in all directions. Again and again.


      那作家和詩人呢?當夏天來臨,他們又會如灌木一般重新吐綠。故事和詩歌會耗盡他們的心力,而后離開,朝四面八方飛去。循環往復,周而復始。


      (譯者單位:上海外國語大學高級翻譯學院)


      注釋:

       

      1. “對文字感到饑渴”(A Hunger for Words)為國際兒童讀物聯盟發布的2020 年“國際兒童圖書日”主題,本文是斯洛文尼亞童書作家彼得·斯韋蒂納為該主題撰寫的短文。

       

      2. 蝴蝶一生經歷四個階段:卵、幼蟲、蛹、成蟲。幼蟲以樹葉為食,在蛻皮變蛹前,會停止取食,化蛹時吐絲作繭。原文應是指化蛹前的這個階段。

       

      3. impoverished 在這里指精神上的貧瘠。

       

      4. 作者此處意指作家和詩人的創作力如灌木般生生不息。

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