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现代大学英语精读第二版(第四册)学习笔记(原文及全文翻译)——2B - The Earth Poet(大地诗人)

Unit 2B - The Earth Poet

The Earth Poet

Jesse Stuart

Nothing ever escaped my father, for he was an earth poet who loved the land and everything on it. He liked to watch things grow. From the time I was big enough for him to lead me by the hand, I went with him over the farm. If I couldn't walk all the way in those early days, he'd carry me on his back. I learned to love many of the things he loved.

Sometime in the dim past of my boyhood, my father unloaded me from his back under some white-oak trees just beginning to leaf. "Look at this hill, son," he said, gesturing broadly with a sweep of his hand. "Look up that steep hill toward the sky. See how pretty that new-ground corn is."

This was the first field I can remember my father's taking me to see. The rows of corn curved like dark green rainbows around a high slope with a valley and its little tributaries running down through the center. The corn blades rustled in the wind, and my father said he could understand what the corn blades were saying. He told me they whispered to each other, and this was hard for me to believe. I reasoned that before anything could speak or make a sound it had to have a mouth. When my father said the corn could talk, I got down on my knees and looked a stalk over.

"This corn hasn't got a mouth," I told my father. "How can anything talk when it doesn't have a mouth?"

He laughed like the wind in the corn and hugged me to his knees, and we went on.

The one thing my father brought me to see that delighted him most was the pumpkins. I'd never seen so many pumpkins with long necks and small bodies. Pumpkins as big around as the bottom of a flour barrel were sitting in the furrows beneath the tall corn, immovable as rocks. There were pumpkins, and more pumpkins, of all colors—yellow and white, green and brown.

"Look at this, won't you," my father said. "Look what corn, what beans, what pumpkins. Corn ears so big they lean the cornstalks. Beans as thick as honey-locust beans on the honey-locust tree. And pumpkins thicker than the stumps in this new ground. I could walk all over this field on pumpkins and never step on the ground."

He looked upon the beauty of this cove he had cleared and his three crops growing here. He rarely figured a field in dollars and cents. Although he never wasted a dollar, money didn't mean everything to him. He liked to see the beauty of growing things on the land. He carried this beauty in his mind.

Once, when we were walking between cornfields on a rainy Sunday afternoon, he pointed to a redbird on its nest in a locust tree, a redbird with shiny red feathers against the dark background of a nest. It was just another bird's nest to me until he whispered, "Ever see anything as pretty as what the raindrops do to that redbird sitting on her dark nest?" From this day on, I have liked to see birds, especially redbirds, sitting on their nests in the rain. But my father was the one to make me see the beauty.

"A blacksnake is a pretty thing," he once said to me, "so shiny and black in the spring sun after he sheds his winter skin."

He was the first man I ever heard say a snake was pretty. I never forgot his saying it. I can even remember the sumac thicket where he saw the blacksnake.

He saw more beauty in trees than any man I have ever known. He would walk through a strange forest laying his hand upon the trees, saying this oak or that pine, that beech or poplar, was a beautiful tree. Then he would single out other trees and say they should be cut. He would always give his reasons for cutting a tree: too many trees on a root stool, too thick, one damaged by fire at the butt, one leaning against another, too many on the ground, or the soil not deep enough above a ledge of rocks to support them.

Then there were the hundreds of times my father took me to the hills to see wild flowers. I thought it was silly at first. He would sit on a dead log, maybe one covered with wild moss, somewhere under the tall beech trees, listening to the wind in the canopy of leaves above, looking at a clump of violets of percoon growing beside a rotted log. He could sit there enjoying himself indefinitely. Only when the sun went down would we get up and start for home. Father wouldn't break the Sabbath by working, except in an emergency. He would follow a cow that was overdue to calve. He would watch over ewes in the same manner. He followed them to the high cliffs and helped them deliver their lambs, saving their lives. He would do such things on Sundays, and he would fight forest fires. But he always said he could make a living working six days in the week. Yet he was restless on Sundays. He had to walk around and look over his fields and enjoy them.

My father didn't have to travel over the country searching for something beautiful to see. He didn't have to go away to find beauty, for he found it everywhere around him. He had eyes to find it. He had a mind to know it. He had a heart to appreciate it. He was an uneducated poet of this earth. And if anybody had told him that he was, he wouldn't have understood. He would have turned and walked away without saying anything.

In the winter, when snow was over the ground, and the stars glistened, he'd go to the barn to feed the livestock at four in the morning. I have seen him put corn in the feedboxes for the horses and mules, then go out and stand and look at the morning moon. He once told me he always kept a horse with a flaxen mane and tail because he liked to see one run in the moonlight with his mane arched high and his tail floating on the wind.

When spring returned, he was always taking me someplace to show me a new tree he had found, or a pretty red mushroom growing on a rotting stump in some deep hollow. He found so many strange and beautiful things that I tried to rival him by making discoveries, too. I looked into the out-of-the-way and unexpected places to find the beautiful and the unusual.

I didn't get the idea of dead leaves being golden ships on the sea from a storybook. And neither did my father, for he had never read a book in his life. He'd never had a book read to him either. It was in October, and we were sitting on the bank of W-Branch. We were watching the blue autumn water slide swiftly over the slate rocks. My father picked up leaves that were shaped like little ships and dropped them into the water.

"These are ships on swift water," he told me, "going to far-off lands where strangers will see them." He had a special love for autumn leaves, and he'd pick them up when we were out walking and ask me to identify them. He'd talk about how pretty each leaf was and how a leaf was prettier after it was dead than when it was alive and growing.

Many people thought my father was just a one-horse farmer who never got much out of life. They saw only a little man, dressed in clean, patched overalls, with callused and brier-scratched hands. They often saw the beard along his face. And they saw him go off and just stand in a field and look at something. They thought he was moody. Well, he was that all right, but when he was standing there and people thought he was looking into space, he was looking at a flower or a mushroom or a new bug he'd discovered for the first time. And when he looked up into a tree, he wasn't searching for a hornet's nest to burn or a bird's nest to rob. He wasn't trying to find a bee tree. He was just looking closely at the beauty in a tree. And among the millions, he always found one different enough to excite him.

参考译文——大地诗人

大地诗人

杰西·斯图尔特

任何事情都逃不过我父亲的眼睛,因为他是一位大地诗人,他深情地热爱着这片土地以及这片上的一切。他喜欢观察万物的生长。自从我学会走路后,父亲就常拉着我的手,一道巡视整个农场了。在那段我还年幼的日子里,我还不能走完整段路程,父亲就会背着我走。我学会了热爱他所爱的许多事物。

我隐约记得童年时的一天,父亲把我从背上放下来,放在几棵刚开始长叶的白橡树下。“看看这座小山,儿子。”他说着,敞开手臂向上一挥。“抬头看看那座伸入云霄陡峭的山峰。瞧瞧那块新开垦的玉米地多美呀!”

这是我记忆中,父亲带我去看的第一块地。一排排玉米像墨绿色的彩虹一样蜿蜒环绕着高坡和山谷,一条条小河从中间一直延伸下去。玉米叶子在风中沙沙作响,父亲说,他能听懂玉米叶子在说什么。他告诉我说他们正互相说着悄悄话,这简直让我难以置信。我想,任何东西要能说话或发出声响得先有一张嘴。当父亲说玉米可以说话时,我跪下仔细地观察起一棵玉米来。

“这棵玉米没有嘴,”我告诉父亲。“一个东西没嘴巴怎么能说话呢?”

他像玉米地里的风一样大笑起来,然后抱起我,继续前行。

父亲带我去看的最让他兴奋的东西是南瓜。我以前从没见过这么多脖子长身子小的南瓜。南瓜跟面粉桶差不多粗,端坐在高高的玉米下面的垄沟里,像岩石一样搬也搬不动。南瓜多得数也数不清,颜色各异——有黄白相间的,有绿褐相混的。

“你不想看看这个吗?”父亲说。“瞧,这里有好多玉米、豆子、南瓜啊!玉米穗这么大,都靠在玉米杆上。豆子密得像皂荚豆一样。南瓜则比这块新地里的树桩还要密。我居然能踏在南瓜上,脚不着地就走遍这片地。”

他凝视着这片他开垦出来的美丽的小山谷和他在这里种植的三种农作物。他很少去算计一块地能赚多少钱。尽管他从不浪费一块钱,金钱对他来说并不意味着一切。他喜欢看着土地上生长的作物身上的那种美丽。他把这种美丽记在心间。

有一次,在一个周日的下午,天下着雨,我们走在玉米地中间,父亲指着一颗洋槐树上鸟巢里的一只红雀,它那红得发亮的羽毛与鸟巢的黑色背景相呼应,格外漂亮。这对我来说只是又一个鸟巢而已,这时他低声说:“雨点打在趴在灰暗鸟窝里的红雀身上,你见过这样的美景吗?”从那一天起,我开始喜欢上了看鸟,尤其是雨中栖于巢中的红雀。是我的父亲让我发现了这种美。

“黑蛇是一种美的动物。”他有一次对我说,“它在蜕去了冬天的皮后,在春天阳光的照耀下乌黑发亮。”

他是我听到的第一个说蛇美的人。我至今没有忘记他说过的这番话。甚至还记得他发现黑蛇的那片灌木丛。

他比我认识的所有人都更具备发现美的眼光。他常常会穿行在一片陌生的树林里,手抚在树上,说这棵橡树或那棵松树美,也说这棵山毛榉或那棵杨树美。接着他会挑出其他树,说应该砍掉这些树。他总能举出砍掉一棵树的理由:一根株上长了太多树,太密了;这棵树的根部被火烧坏了;这棵树靠在了另一棵树上,在一片地上树太多,或是岩层上的土层不够深,无法支撑树木的生长。

那时,父亲带我上山去看野花不下上百次了。起初我觉得这很可笑。他常常坐在一棵枯死倒下的树干上,或是一棵长满苔藓、倒在高高的山毛榉下的枯木上,头顶是遮天蔽日的树叶,倾听着风声,看着长在一棵朽木旁的一大片紫罗兰。他可以一直坐在那儿欣赏着。只有当太阳落山时,我们才起身回家。父亲不会在安息日那天破例去工作,除非有什么急事。他会跟着一头过了预产期的母牛。他还喜欢这样守着母羊。跟着它们到高高的悬崖上,帮它们生下小羊羔,挽救那些生命。他往往在周日做这些事,而且他还常去扑灭林火。他总是说,他一周工作六天就能维持生计。然而他在周日也不会休息。他必须四处走走,看看他的庄稼地,欣赏自己的杰作。

父亲没有必要周游全国来探寻美丽的东西。他没有必要出远门去发现美丽,因为他在自己的身边任何地方都能发现美。他拥有一双发现美的慧眼。他有领悟美的智慧和欣赏美的心灵。他是这片土地上未受过教育的诗人。如果有人告诉他,他是这样的诗人的话,他不会理解。他反而会转过身,一言不发地走开。

冬天的清晨,白雪皑皑,星光闪烁,他会在清晨四点钟就到牲口棚给牲畜喂食。我看到他把玉米放在牲口食槽里喂马和骡子,然后走出去,站在那里望着清晨的月亮。他曾告诉我说,他一直喂养着一匹长着亚麻色鬃毛和尾巴的马,因为他喜欢看这样的一匹马在月光下奔跑,马鬃高高地蓬起,马尾在风中飘舞。

当大地回春,父亲总是带我去某个地方,让我去看他新发现的一棵树,或者某个深谷里一朵长在腐烂树桩上的漂亮的红蘑菇。他发现如此多的新奇而美丽的事物,使得我也想设法发现一些东西来跟他比个高地。我留意观察那些偏远的、别人想不到的地方,希望发现那些美丽和不寻常的事物。

在故事书中我没能萌发关于落叶变成海上金色轮船的想象。父亲也没有这样的想象力,毕竟他一生中从未读过一本书。他也从没让别人读书给他听。那时已经是十月份了,我们坐在西布兰奇河畔。看着蓝色的秋水急速地从岩石上面流过。父亲拾起几片形状像小船的落叶,抛进了流水中。

“这些就是急流中的小船,”他告诉我,“它们会驶向遥远的地方,那里的陌生人将会看到它们。”他对秋叶有种特别的钟爱,我们外出散步时,他常常拾起落叶,要我辨认它们。他会谈论每片树叶如何的美丽,以及枯黄的叶子如何比生长在树上的时候更美丽。

许多人认为父亲不过是一个微不足道的农民,一生中没有什么成就。他们看到的只是一个小人物,穿着干净的打着补丁的工装裤,有一双长满老茧、被荆棘划伤了的手。他们经常见到他蓄着络腮胡子。他们看见他离开家,只是站在庄稼地里观察着什么。他们觉得他郁郁寡欢。哦,那倒是真的,但是,当他站在那儿,而人们以为他在茫然直视,他其实正在欣赏一朵花或者一株蘑菇,或是他第一次发现的一种昆虫。当他抬头仔细端详一棵树时,并不是在寻找大黄蜂的窝去烧,也不是找鸟窝去掏。他也并非试图寻找一棵招蜂的树。他只是在仔细欣赏树的美丽。在几百万棵树中,他总会发现一棵树时那么与众不同,这足以让他感到兴奋。

Key Words:

stalk [stɔ:k]     

n. 茎,梗

thicket    ['θikit]    

n. 繁茂处,丛林,草丛

canopy   ['kænəpi]

n. 天篷,遮篷,苍穹

hollow    ['hɔləu]   

n. 洞,窟窿,山谷

参考资料:

  1. 现代大学英语精读(第2版)第四册:U2B The Earth Poet(1)_大学教材听力 - 可可英语
  2. 现代大学英语精读(第2版)第四册:U2B The Earth Poet(2)_大学教材听力 - 可可英语
  3. http://www.kekenet.com/daxue/201808/56188shtml
  4. http://www.kekenet.com/daxue/201808/56189shtml
  5. 现代大学英语精读(第2版)第四册:U2B The Earth Poet(5)_大学教材听力 - 可可英语
  6. 现代大学英语精读(第2版)第四册:U2B The Earth Poet(6)_大学教材听力 - 可可英语

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