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英文翻譯練習:遠人《秋山行》(1)
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: February 22, 2009 – 8:58 am

本文看似記遊,實則描寫作者送朋友骨灰上山安置的過程,可算是生命之遊。文中寫景精采,「送葬」時的哲思展現難得的包容,殊屬不易,本文獲得梁實秋散文佳作獎乃實至名歸。作者還引用英國詩人Christina Rossetti 的 Up-Hill 以及丁尼生的 Crossing the Bar,中西合壁,文白交融,極富深意。作者每節末尾都刻意與 Up-Hill 詩中每節的末尾相互應和,應驗了前人所謂:同一個敏感的靈魂在不同的軀殼裏忍受同樣的悽楚與哀痛。文學無國界之分,對死亡的體悟是歷代哲人追尋的目標。誠如作者所言:「世事難斷,何為愚痴,何為通達,恐怕也沒有定論。」此話頗值得玩味。

本文取自:遠人之《也想不幽默》,第 195 頁到 208 頁。

(版主執筆翻譯中文 / 漢學家 Professor John Balcom 校訂)

《秋山行》

A Journey to Autumn Mountains

北地的秋色,入眼如飲醇醪,不覺自醉。自從多年前一度驚豔之後,就許下心願,每年秋天必然要勻出些許時間,到山巔、到水湄,一賞秋葉的繽紛,一洗濁世的塵勞。去年也去了,但是秋色依然,心裏卻別是一番況味。因為那次旅程,不是為赴秋神的款宴,而是為送故友之長眠。

1

translation Autumn scenery in the north is as intoxicating as full-bodied wine. Several years ago, I marveled at the beauty of the fall so I made a decision that every year I would spare the time for traveling far and wide during the fall, to enjoy the fall foliage running riot and to free myself from worldly pursuits. I made a trip last year. Although the autumn scenery was as beautiful as always, I had mixed feelings about it, because the journey was not for enjoying the colorful reception by the autumn god, but for laying the ashes of my old friend to rest in peace.

是十一月初,同窗好友炳公逝世兩星期了,遺體已經火化,這天要將他的骨灰送往紐約上州的莊嚴寺永久供奉安息。在殯儀館裏,看見那一包還沒有封裝的白骨,跟我熟識的那個人完全不能產生聯想,不免暗自吃驚。原來人體以水分為主,高溫之下,或成蒸氣,或化輕煙,並無骨灰可得,其結果就是這搗成黃豆大小的一堆,極白、極純淨。所不同的,炳公習佛多年,精進修持,雖然並沒有出家,也不茹素,荼毗之後,居然得了許多舍利子,或白、或黑、或赤,細小晶瑩,歷歷可辨。我雖不信佛,但知道這是修行人功夫深淺的表徵之一。所以,等骨甕封好,啟程上山的時候,心情竟是哀傷之中依稀含有一點欣慰的。

translation It was early November. Bingwen, a good friend and classmate of mine, had died two weeks earlier, and his remains had already been cremated. We were scheduled on that day to go to Chuang Yen Monastery in Upstate NY to lay his ashes there so that he could rest forever. In the funeral parlor, I was shocked at the sight of the ashes that had not yet been put in the funeral urn, for I could hardly associate them with my intimate friend. Usually, little ash(es) remains of the cremated corpse because the human body is made up mostly of water and turns into either vapor or smoke during the cremation process. What is left is a pile of extremely white and absolutely pure stuff that is the size of soybeans. However, there was something different with Bingwen’s cremated remains. Although he was neither a monk nor kept a vegetarian diet, Bingwen had been studying Buddhism and cultivating his mind based on Buddhist doctrines for years. After his remains were cremated, relics were found– white, black, and red; small but sparkling, crystal-clear, and clearly visible to the eyes. I had no faith in Buddhism, but I knew relics were a measure of the accomplishments achieved by a Buddhist. Because of this, I was filled with a mixture of happiness and sadness when we began our journey to the monastery after the funeral urn was sealed.

這條路一直是上坡路?
是的,一直到盡頭。
這條路要走一整天的功夫?
從早到晚,我的朋友。

2.
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

紐約上州多山,此去莊嚴寺,盡是上坡,路程不近,又很荒涼,為了萬全起見,先去加油。加油站正忙,枯等之中,忽然想起一件事,竟至啞然失笑。炳公最後一次住院,我去探望。那時還是仲秋,病房的窗外是一片蔚藍,他的心情也還是一貫的安寧。他得的是肌肉萎縮症,已經到了末期,但兩人對坐,竟不生傷感。聽他談起病情,醫生說病勢已經擴及胸腔,萬一生變,必須在喉部開口急救,他不肯同意。他認為死亡既是必然,多拖無益。又補充說,人生就像開車旅行,油料用完,又找不到加油站,只好停下,胡亂加些清水果汁,是沒有用的。炳公教過小學,說話老怕人不能會意,特別愛用比喻,朋友們常取笑他。如今人已垂危,還是一點沒變,積習真是難改。我現在油箱還有三分滿,早早就張羅加添,不知他又要如何取譬?

translation Upstate NY is a mountainous area, far away from where we started and sparsely populated. In addition, the road to Chuang Yen Monastery is all up-hill. Just to be safe, I went to a gas station to fill up the tank before hitting the road. As ill luck would have it, there were long lines at the station and I had to wait. While I was waiting in boredom, one thing occurred to me and made me laugh. I remembered I paid a visit to Bingwen when he was hospitalized for the last time before his death. It was mid-autumn. The blue expanse of sky spread outside the ward. Although suffering from fatal muscular atrophy, Bingwen was still as calm as always. We sat face to face and talked about his illness. Strangely, none of us was sad. He said the illness had spread to his chest, and doctors would have to open a hole in his throat in an emergency. Bingwen told me he would never agree to it, because he knew if death was unavoidable, any further treatment would be useless. He added that life was like traveling by car – if the tank was empty and no gas station could be found, he had to stop his journey. Refilling the tank with water or fruit would be in vain. Bingwen used to teach at an elementary school, so he liked to give examples to make himself understood. Our friends used to make fun of him. Although he was dying, he hadn’t changed. No wonder people say, “old habits die hard.” My tank was just low, with a third of it left, and I was in a hurry to fill her up. If Bingwen had known, what kind of examples would he have used to describe me?

離開加油站,立刻轉上高速公路,逕往北去。首先經過一座長橋。紐約拜哈德遜河之賜,橋樑特別多,而且都是吊橋,而吊橋,是沒有不美的。尤其是像這一個晚秋佳日,天和水都是一色湛藍,只讓橋身那一抹謙遜的淺灰輕輕畫開,若即若離。走得近了,漸漸顯出橋柱的龐大高昂。等到了柱底,擡眼仰望,已經高不見頂,好像無際的青天,就那麼讓它堪堪撐起,真是一柱擎天之勢。我每次經過,都不免驚嘆造化之神奇與人類智巧之偉大,但又覺得兩不相涉,都不能盡悉對方的底蘊,不知何以古人觀天,要喟然動問:「出自湯谷,次於蒙汜,自明及晦,所行幾里?」。也不知何以許多像炳公那樣智慧絕高的人,生於今世,悲憫蒼生,卻偏要問道於鬼神?而他多年來致力於修心養性,卻中道猝逝,反由我這個疑神疑鬼的老弟來送他最後一程,又有什麼道理可說?沉吟之間,長橋已過,又是一個天地了。

translation I got onto a northbound highway right after leaving the gas station. The first sight that greeted me was a long bridge. Thanks to the Hudson River, bridges, most of them suspension bridges, can be found all over the New York State. To me, all suspension bridges are beautiful. It was a sunny day in late autumn. The water and sky were nearly merged in a deep blue color. What separated them was a half-hidden, light gray line formed by the bridge, discernible at one moment and gone the next. As I drove toward the bridge, I was gradually impressed by the immensity and loftiness of the bridge towers. When I reached the bottom, I looked up but could not see the top. The towers seemed to prop up the endless expanse of blue sky. What a magnificent sight it was! Every time I passed by a suspension bridge, I was amazed at the miracle of nature as well as the greatness of man’s wisdom and craftsmanship. However, I also felt that nature and man maybe had nothing to do with each other. Neither of them could get a clear grasp of the other’s inner secrets. I thought to myself perhaps that was why an ancient poet, while observing celestial phenomena, was moved to ask himself, “The sun emerges by the boiling canyon and arrives at the vale of night. The passage from light until dark is a passage of how many miles?” Also, why did so many people as wise as Bingwen, who was born to this world and equipped with so much wisdom, want to seek solutions from spirits while trying to rescue mankind from their miseries? Bingwen spent so many years cultivating his mind, but death unexpectedly stepped in, stopping him from further spiritual pursuits. It was I, a non-believer in both gods and ghosts, who had to accompany him before his departure from this world. Did it make any sense? While I was pondering about these questions, we had passed the bridge and entered anther part of our journey.

這橋不但畫開了長天與秋水,也隔開了自然與文明。方才還是紅塵萬丈,眼前已見青山一脈,而真正的上坡路也開始了,我的心裏不免忐忑。這車門第不高,又生得瘦弱,而今步入中年,體力越發不濟了。今天任重道遠,居然由它承乏,實在是強人所難。如果炳公說得不錯,人生如行車,那麼反之亦然。旅程既非車子所自由選擇,路上一旦有事,想來它也不肯承擔責任的。心裡這麼嘀咕,嘴上不覺哼起一首小時候學的歌,「破車瘦老的馬」,同時寄語炳公:果真死後有靈,務必賜佑。從早到晚,我的朋友。

translation Not only did the bridge divide the water and sky, it also separated nature and civilization. In the twinkle of an eye, the world of maddening crowds had given way to fresh green mountains. The road for the remaining journey wound up-hill all the way. I felt a little anxious because my car’s chassis was low. What’s more, it was a lightweight vehicle and already middle-aged so I had my doubts if the car was up to the task. I thought to myself, “If Bingwen is right that life is like traveling by car, then there is nothing I can do if the car breaks down. Moreover, the car is forced into the task, it will undoubtedly be reluctant to assume the responsibility if anything bad happens.” While I was whispering these words to myself, I unconsciously started humming a song from my childhood. It was called “A broken cart and a bony, old horse“. I prayed to Bingwen, “May you bless us all the way along; from morn to night, my friend.”
《秋山行》第二部分的譯文,請參閱:『英文翻譯練習:遠人《秋山行》(2)』。
《秋山行》第三部分的譯文,請參閱:『英文翻譯練習:遠人《秋山行》(3)』。
《秋山行》第四部分的譯文,請參閱:『英文翻譯練習:遠人《秋山行》(4)』。

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