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On "The Idea of Order at Key West" 赏析

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Title: The Idea of Order at Key West

面对滔滔的大海,有所感触和哲思,古今诗人概不能免。在西方,这一传统大约滥觞于古希腊的爱琴海文明。人们普遍相信,大海是生命的来源,一切真知和奥秘的永恒所在。这不,站在美国大陆的天涯海角(西尾岛,相当于海南的鹿回头),眺望着汹涌的西太平洋,我们的诗人Stevens也不禁思潮澎湃。时间是1934年,战争的创伤还隐隐作痛,而风雨欲来的恶兆又让人忐忑不安。难道世道真的要像眼前这翻腾的海水一样,永不止歇吗?惊涛骇浪中到底有没有秩序和安宁?

1st stanza:

She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.

就在陷入沉思之际,诗人突然瞥见一名女子,沿着海滩踽踽独行,嘴里还不时哼着歌曲。那歌声虽然轻柔,但在海涛的轰鸣中却依然清晰可辨(“The song and water were not medleyed sound”)。而且听来仿佛美人鱼或海妖的歌吟(enchanting or bewitching songs),甚是奇妙! 相较之下,海浪的声音倒是毫无生气(“inhuman”), 没有想法也不开口 (“The water never formed to mind or voice”),让诗人觉得十分疏离。而放眼望去,整片汪洋有俨然一具漂浮的尸体 (“a body wholly body”: holy body? Hole-y body?)。随浪摆动的“衣袖”,只是证实了它沉沉的空洞和死气(“Like a body” “empty”)。然而,这半死的海水居然不肯消歇:不断地在诗人眼前忸怩作态(“mimic motion”), 还勉强制造与人无关的声响(“Made constant cry…/Inhuman…”)。诗人当然明白(“understood”)那声音里的逗引: 海洋习惯以 “the veritable ocean”自诩,总是用它所谓的verity/truth做诱饵, 勾引海边流连的客旅。可是这位诗人Stevens并不上钩。尽管海不停地模仿鼓噪(“Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry”), 但他深知那终究不是人的声音(“That was not ours”)。即便那声音果真来自海里的精灵(“the genius of the sea”),但还是不及那女子的浅唱低吟: 因为她的歌声甚至响遏海魂(She sang beyond the genius of the sea.)!

2nd and 3rd stanzas:
The sea was not a mask. No more was she.
The song and water were not medleyed sound
Even if what she sang was what she heard,
Since what she sang was uttered word by word.
It may be that in all her phrases stirred
The grinding water and the gasping wind;
But it was she and not the sea we heard.
For she was the maker of the song she sang.
The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea
Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew
It was the spirit that we sought and knew
That we should ask this often as she sang.
If it was only the dark voice of the sea
That rose, or even colored by many waves;
If it was only the outer voice of sky
And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,
However clear, it would have been deep air,
The heaving speech of air, a summer sound
Repeated in a summer without end
And sound alone. But it was more than that,
More even than her voice, and ours, among
The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.

于是,诗人不禁对海说:你不是戏子,不必总是戴着那演戏的帽子, 摆出悲剧里伶人的姿态 (“ever-hooded, tragic-gestured”, 3rd stanza)。纵使你有表演的声势(“plungings of water and the wind”, 3rd stanza),重视海天之间也具备最堂皇的场地和布景(“Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped/On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres/Of sky and sea,” 3rd stanza),但这一切还是没有意义(“meaningless”, 3rd stanza)。西方文艺理论里自古就有“艺术模仿现实”(“mimic ” )的原则。尤其是古希腊的悲剧,一直被奉为最崇高的艺术形式之一。那正是因为它能镜鉴人生,映照真理 (“mimic” – Art mirrors reality)。人们笃信,伶人的面具和剧场布景(一个大面具)的背后,藏着至高至深的真理(the Truth, Ultimate Reality, His Word, or Plato’s “the Form”, etc.). 相应的,根据这源远流长的理性主义传统,mask/nature 也就不是什么遮掩,而成为真道向世人较为明白的彰显, 也是所有人(包括诗人)走近真理的唯一通路。
然而,我们的诗人却并不理会;他已看透了这付假面。无论那声音来自云天深海(“the dark voice of the sea”, “the outer voice of sky/And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled”), 无论它有多么深沉 (“deep air”), 多么清晰(“However clear”),在诗人听来都只是夏日里单调(“repeated”)孤独(“sound alone”)的 “inhuman” “heaving speech of air”罢了。所以,诗人一开始就几乎不客气地正色指出:海不是掩藏真理的面具,不要在我面前做戏 (“The sea was not a mask.”)
另一方面,诗人早就听出那女子的歌与海的声音也并不相融(“The song and water were not medleyed sound.”)。尽管海风海浪不时夹杂在歌声里(“It may be that in all her phrases stirred/The grinding water and the gasping wind”),企图以强行介入宣告它有意义的存在。然而这一切都是徒然。因为相形之下,女子的歌声虽然轻幽,诗人却听得清清楚楚,一字不漏(“[heard] word by word”)。这是为什么呢?原来,诗人在女子的歌声里听到了人类矢志追寻的精神(“It was the spirit that we sought.”): 她唱的歌由她自己编创(“For she was the maker of the song she sang.”),而海却只剩下模仿的伎俩(“mimic”)。

4th stanza:
It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.

那歌唱的女子能发出属于自己的声音(“her voice”);她是“the maker of the song she sang.”。然而还不止于此(“it was more than that”),她声音背后的精神(“the spirit”)还有更奇妙的作为:女子在歌声中改天换地(“The sky” “the hour”), 赋予世界全新的意义,包括给原无本心的海一个自我。更确切地说,当她的歌声扬来,她便是这世界唯一的创造主(“She was the single artificer of the world/In which she sang.) 。歌声以外不存在另外的世界(“there never was a world for her/Except the one she sang and, singing, made.),而海边不过是她歌唱创造的地点(“merely a place by which she walked to sing.”)
歌唱的女子既然缔造了她的世界,是maker, artificer,那她还需要什么mask呢? Stevens 说,她当然不是面具(“No more was she.”),因为她自己就是意义和秩序的创造者!显然,这善歌的女子就是诗人的化身(singer/poet): 两者都是创造者;都具有同样的spirit, 同样的能力和使命,即6th stanza 里提到的“Blessed rage for order…/The maker's rage to order words…” 原来,人类矢志追求的精神就是一种 blessed rage!Rage在英文里为多义词:它既是面对邪恶不公的
义愤(indignation), 也是积极入世的承担(violent action), 更是追求崇高永不泯灭的激情(passion, enthusiasm)。
那歌唱的女子又仿佛现代的缪斯女神(Muse – musical/poetic)。她走在除魅(demystified)的海滩,头上也没有古希腊神话中常见的神圣光环,然而对于诗人,她却是现时代至高的女神!是Botticelli笔下的维纳斯女神重生了!她是爱与美的再现,因为这goddess重又开始创造了!她藉着歌唱,独自一人在文明的废墟上(除魅的海滩)再造另一个世界(“and singing, made”)。她像歌德所指那 “永恒的女性”,启示世人,引领他们不断地上升(“The eternal female leads us upward.” from Goethe)。在那个低落凋敝的时代,这样一位女神现身,又怎能不叫诗人崇敬膜拜呢?

5th stanza:
Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,
Why, when the singing ended and we turned
Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,
The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
As the night descended, tilting in the air,
Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.

当“永恒的女性”在海边吟唱的时候,一位男子却掉转了头往城里走。曾经,浪漫诗人Wordsworth很欣赏一名孤独刈麦女的歌声,以至许久那歌声还在他的心头萦绕。然而这位男子却绝无这样的雅兴;他甚至厌恶女子的歌声。Ramon Fernandez 何许人也?据说,他是当时活跃于欧美的一个法国文评家。向来以“反浪漫主义”的姿态自居(引自王敖),甚至撰文坦承 "I Came Near Being a Fascist." 然而,30年代法国工人暴动发生以后,他却一夜之间声称自此转向无产阶级的革命阵营。这一举动自然引起知识界一片挞伐之声。
Fernandez并不讳言他有凡事理论化的倾向;因为这种倾向,他总在寻找最为根本狂飙的解决之道("a professional fondness for theorizing, which tends to make one highly susceptible to original ‘solutions.’", from James Longenbach)。他觉得,海边一位女子微弱的歌声里找不到他要寻觅的,于是他毅然转身,在暮色中向城里走去 – 至少城里有光亮!其实,就连港湾里也有不少的渔火。那些渔火在夜幕里闪亮(“glassy lights”),又映照在海面上,居然连成了一片光明景象。Fernandez目睹此情此景,心想这渔火岂不就是暗夜里的明灯?不就是他上下求索的“original ‘solutions’”?根据 M.H. Abrams的说法,除了充当the mirror 的角色之外(见上文),文艺家里选择做或自命为the lamp的,也一样大有人在。Fernandez先生大概就是以“智慧灯”来自我期许的吧。尤其在那样无边的黑暗里,一盏灯兴许能拯救些生命与绝望。
然而,一样独立在夜色中,诗人Stevens 在海边看到的却是另一幅狰狞惊心的画面。一等夜色降临, 渔火就不停地在黑夜里摇摆(“tilting in the air”),霸道地主宰黑夜(“Mastered the night”),肆意地割裂海面(“portioned out the sea”)。它无理地划定(“Fixing”)“光辉的区域”和“炽烈的桅杆”。这不禁让读者想起若干年以后的法西斯帝国。难道“emblazoned zones” 就是雅利安人所谓高贵的文明领地吗? 难道“fiery poles” 就是日后纳粹王国的轴心吗?更让人不寒而栗的是,那glassy lights非但不驱除眼里心头的黑暗,反倒凭着它的衬托加深着夜色(“deepening”),还对黑暗做诡谲的编排(“Arranging”),并增添魅惑的气氛 (“enchanting”)。诗人于是惊呼,这渔火趁着暗夜在行怎样的勾当?! 这又是怎样的“暗夜明灯”?!
Stevens赶紧质问那位Fernandez先生:难道这就是你渴求的光明?瞧,你的lamp带来的只有更深的黑暗和混乱!大海,Stop pretending to be a mask or mirror! 而你,Fernandez先生,这世界不需要你的 glassy lights! 我们想再听到那嘎然而止的歌声,那女子口里创造的歌声!

6th stanza:
Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,
The maker's rage to order words of the sea,
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and of our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

在歌声里,那女子便是造物的女神(“The maker”)。她创造了她的世界:那里没有自欺虚幻的mirror,也没有自傲狂妄的lamp。那里一切都井然有序(order),至少保有对秩序红热的追求和激情(“Blessed rage for order;” rage当然是火红的!),容不下半点苍白的无力和疲惫(“pale Ramon”)。诗人惊喜地发现,如果说追求秩序的激情是这世界的栋梁支柱,那么建筑的材料便是那无数的words,多样的words。它们外来自深海晶天(“of the sea” “of the fragrant portals”),内来自人类自身及其原初(“of ourselves and of our origins”)。它们既是女子口中的歌,也是文人手下的诗… 当黑暗的领域扩展,黑暗的界限更加森然(“ghostlier demarcations”), 诗人/歌者的职任是要发出更为尖锐的声音(“keener sounds”), 因为order来自words/sounds!

诗人Stevens无意于做一面镜子:那里面映照的只有混乱与丑恶,而不是什么世道人心的order. 他也不自诩为暗夜里的一盏智慧明灯:那灯只会让夜更加鬼魅黑暗。他要做一个建筑家,用他的words and sounds 另建一个秩序井然的世界,就像那位歌唱的女子一样。早期浪漫主义者(e.g. Wordsworth), 在自然与心灵之间找到了神秘美妙的融合对应(fusion of and correspondence between nature and mind), 并用他们的诗笔书写真诚自然情思。Stevens也有同样浪漫的情怀,然而此时此地,他发现周遭的世界已经变了。更确切地说,是人心惟危,而歌声也如广陵散绝(“the singing ended”)。那种美妙的融合他再也体会不到 – 这该是何等空虚可笑的浪漫!好在,眼前还有一位陌生的女子在海边独自歌唱;仿佛一位现代的缪思女神,陪伴孤独的他,浇灌他干渴的诗情, 启迪(inspire)他重造一个诗与歌的新秩序(a new order of words)。谁说这不是另一种浪漫主义?!

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