Skip to content

“Rainy Season; Sub-Tropics”, Elizabeth Bishop

August 29, 2020

雨季;亚热带

巨蟾蜍

我太大了,大得离谱。可怜可怜我。

我眼睛鼓得生疼。不过它们仍是我唯一的美丽。它们看到的太多,上面,下面,虽然并没有什么可看的。雨已经停了。雾气一滴滴聚集在我皮肤上。水珠沿着我后背流过,从我下垂的嘴角流下,流过我两侧并从腹部滴落。或许在我斑驳皮肤上的小水滴也很美丽,像露珠在腐烂的叶子上闪着银色?它们给我彻头彻尾的寒冷。我感觉我的颜色正在改变,我的色素缓慢地震颤并转变。

现在我要去那个悬空的岩架下面。慢慢地。跳。再来两三次,不要出声。真是太远了。我要站起来。地衣是灰色的,在前脚下很是粗糙。低头。转过来朝着外面,这样更安全。屏住呼吸直到蜗牛过来。不过我们在同样的天气下旅行。

吞下空气与好几口冷雾。发出声音,一次就好。噢,从岩石传来了怎样的回声!我鸣响了多么深邃的,天使般的铃声!

我生活,呼吸,都靠吞咽。有一次,一些调皮的孩子把我拿起,与我的两个兄弟一起。他们又把我们在别处放下,并在我们嘴里放进点燃的烟。我们忍不住去抽,直到抽完。我以为我的死期到了,但当我被烟雾充满,当我张开的嘴在燃烧,当我五脏六腑又热又干,他们放我们走了。不过我病了好几天。

我肩膀宽大,像个拳击手。然而,它们并不是肌肉,并且颜色深沉。它们是我的毒囊,我所背负的罕用的毒素,我的负担与重大责任。硕大有毒的翅膀,折在我背上。当心,我是伪装了的天使;我的翅膀邪恶,但并不致命。如果我想,毒素会喷出,蓝黑色,威胁到所有人。蓝黑色的毒雾将在空中升起。当心,你这轻浮的螃蟹。

迷途蟹

这里不是我的家。我怎么离水这么远?它一定在那边某个地方。

我有葡萄酒的颜色,廷塔酒。我强力的右钳内侧是藏红花的黄。看,我现在能看见它了;我挥舞它如一面旗。我精悍而优雅;我移动极精确,巧妙地驾驭我所有的小黄钳。我信奉那倾斜的,间接的方式,我把我的感情留给自己。

但在这奇怪的光滑表面上我正制造太多噪音。我不适合这里。如果我谨慎地移动并保持警惕,我会再次找到我的水塘。小心我的右钳,所有的过路人!这地方太过坚硬。雨已经停了,有些潮湿,但还没有湿润到让我开心。

我眼睛很好,虽然小;我的壳坚固而紧密。在我的池子里有很多小灰鱼。我能一下看透它们。只有它们的大眼睛是不透明的,还对着我抽搐。它们很难抓,但我,我一下就把它们抓到怀里并吃掉。

这柔软的大怪兽是什么,像一片黄云,令人窒息却也温暖。它在做什么?它拍我的背。伸出来,钳子。好了,我把它吓走了。它正坐下,仿佛什么也没有发生。我要绕开它。它还假装没看到我。别挡我的路,怪物!我拥有一个水池,里面游的所有小鱼,以及所有闻着像烂苹果的蹦跳的水虫。

开心点吧,伤心的蜗牛!我轻拍你的壳,为鼓励你,虽然你永远不会知道。

我也不想和你有任何关系,闷闷不乐的蛤蟆。想象一下,体型是我至少四倍却如此脆弱。我可以用钳子打开你的肚子。你瞪眼又鼓起肚子,是我水池边的看门狗;你发出大而空洞的声音。我可不屑于这样的蠢事。我钦佩紧密,轻盈与敏捷,在这松散的世界中都很难得。

大蜗牛

雨已经停了。瀑布将这样咆哮一整晚。我出来散步并找点吃的。我的身子——脚,准确地说——又湿又冷,上面满覆尖利的碎石。它是白色的,餐盘大小。我给自己设下目标,某块岩石,不过可能在我到达前天就亮了。虽然我像鬼魂般移动,漂浮的边缘几乎不擦过地面,但我沉重,沉重,沉重。我白色的肌肉已经疲惫。我显出一种神秘的从容,然而只有尽意志的最大努力,我才能越过最小的石块与枝条。而且我决不能因这些粗糙的草茅分心。别碰它们。后退。撤退总是最好的。

雨已经停了。瀑布的声音真大!(而万一我掉下去?)黑色岩石的山峦上升起了怎样的云雾!闪亮的彩带从它们两侧垂下。遇到这情况,我们有种说法,是蜗牛神们急匆匆地下降了。我永远无法降下这陡峭的悬崖,更别想攀登它们了。

那只蟾蜍也太大了,也像我一样。它的眼睛恳求我的爱。我们的体态吓坏了邻居们。

休息一分钟,放松。平摊在地面上,我的身子像一片苍白、分解着的树叶。是什么在拍打我的壳?什么也没有。让我们继续。

我的侧面在有节奏的波浪中运动,比地面稍高,从前到后,是船的尾流,蜡白的水面,或是缓慢融化的浮冰。我冷,冷,冷得像冰。我失明的白色公牛头曾在克里特岛上令人恐惧;但我四只无法攻击的角已经退化。我的嘴角现在是我的手。它们贴紧地面并用力吮吸。啊,但我知道我的壳美丽,高耸,闪着釉光。我知道得很清楚,虽然我没有看见过它。它蜷曲的白色唇部是最精美的瓷釉。在内部,它光滑如丝绸,而我,我完美地充满它。

我宽阔的尾流闪烁,正变得黯淡。我留下一条可爱的乳白色丝带:我知道这一点。

但是啊!我太大了。我感觉得到。可怜可怜我。

如果我抵达那岩石,我会进入某一缝隙过夜。其下瀑布的振动将彻夜穿过我的壳与身体。在那稳定的脉搏中我可以休息。一整夜,我会像一只入眠的耳朵。

Giant Toad

I am too big, too big by far. Pity me.

My eyes bulge and hurt. They are my one great beauty, even so. They see too much, above, below, and yet there is not much to see. The rain has stopped. The mist is gathering on my skin in drops. The drops run down my back, run from the corners of my downturned mouth, run down my sides and drip beneath my belly. Perhaps the droplets on my mottled hide are pretty, like dewdrops, silver on a moldering leaf? They chill me through and through. I feel my colors changing now, my pigments gradually shudder and shift over.

Now I shall get beneath that overhanging ledge. Slowly. Hop. Two or three times more, silently. That was too far. I’m standing up. The lichen’s gray, and rough to my front feet. Get down. Turn facing out, it’s safer. Don’t breathe until the snail gets by. But we go travelling the same weathers.

Swallow the air and mouthfuls of cold mist. Give voice, just once. O how it echoed from the rock! What a profound, angelic bell I rang!

I live, I breathe, by swallowing. Once, some naughty children picked me up, me and two brothers. They set us down again somewhere and in our mouths they put lit cigarettes. We could not help but smoke them, to the end. I thought it was the death of me, but when I was entirely filled with smoke, when my slack mouth was burning, and all my tripes were hot and dry, they let us go. But I was sick for days.

I have big shoulders, like a boxer. They are not muscle, however, and their color is dark. They are my sacs of poison, the almost unused poison that I bear, my burden and my great responsibility. Big wings of poison, folded on my back. Beware, I am an angel in disguise; my wings are evil, but not deadly. If I will it, the poison could break through, blue-black, and dangerous to all. Blue-black fumes would rise upon the air. Beware, you frivolous crab.

Strayed Crab

This is not my home. How did I get so far from water? It must be over that way somewhere.

I am the color of wine, of tinta. The inside of my powerful right claw is saffron-yellow. See, I see it now; I wave it like a flag. I am dapper and elegant; I move with great precision, cleverly managing all my smaller yellow claws. I believe in the oblique, the indirect approach, and I keep my feelings to myself.

But on this strange, smooth surface I am making too much noise. I wasn’t meant for this. If I maneuver a bit and keep a sharp lookout, I shall find my pool again. Watch out for my right claw, all passersby! This place is too hard. The rain has stopped, and it is damp, but still not wet enough to please me.

My eyes are good, though small; my shell is tough and tight. In my own pool are many small gray fish. I see right through them. Only their large eyes are opaque, and twitch at me. They are hard to catch, but I, I catch them quickly in my arms and eat them up.

What is that big soft monster, like a yellow cloud, stifling and warm? What is it doing? It pats my back. Out, claw. There, I have frightened it away. It’s sitting down, pretending nothing’s happened. I’ll skirt it. It’s still pretending not to see me. Out of my way, O monster. I own a pool, all the little fish that swim in it, and all the skittering waterbugs that smell like rotten apples.

Cheer up, O grievous snail. I tap your shell, encouragingly, not that you will ever know about it.

And I want nothing to do with you, either, sulking toad. Imagine, at least four times my size and yet so vulnerable … I could open your belly with my claw. You glare and bulge, a watchdog near my pool; you make a loud and hollow noise. I do not care for such stupidity. I admire compression, lightness, and agility, all rare in this loose world.

Giant Snail

The rain has stopped. The waterfall will roar like that all night. I have come out to take a walk and feed. My body—foot, that is—is wet and cold and covered with sharp gravel. It is white, the size of a dinner plate. I have set myself a goal, a certain rock, but it may well be dawn before I get there. Although I move ghostlike and my floating edges barely graze the ground, I am heavy, heavy, heavy. My white muscles are already tired. I give the impression of mysterious ease, but it is only with the greatest effort of my will that I can rise above the smallest stones and sticks. And I must not let myself be distracted by those rough spears of grass. Don’t touch them. Draw back. Withdrawal is always best.

The rain has stopped. The waterfall makes such a noise! (And what if I fall over it?) The mountains of black rock give off such clouds of steam! Shiny streamers are hanging down their sides. When this occurs, we have a saying that the Snail Gods have come down in haste. I could never descend such steep escarpments, much less dream of climbing them.

That toad was too big, too, like me. His eyes beseeched my love. Our proportions horrify our neighbors.

Rest a minute; relax. Flattened to the ground, my body is like a pallid, decomposing leaf. What’s that tapping on my shell? Nothing. Let’s go on.

My sides move in rhythmic waves, just off the ground, from front to back, the wake of a ship, wax-white water, or a slowly melting floe. I am cold, cold, cold as ice. My blind, white bull’s head was a Cretan scare-head; degenerate, my four horns that can’t attack. The sides of my mouth are now my hands. They press the earth and suck it hard. Ah, but I know my shell is beautiful, and high, and glazed, and shining. I know it well, although I have not seen it. Its curled white lip is of the finest enamel. Inside, it is as smooth as silk, and I, I fill it to perfection.

My wide wake shines, now it is growing dark. I leave a lovely opalescent ribbon: I know this.

But O! I am too big. I feel it. Pity me.

If and when I reach the rock, I shall go into a certain crack there for the night. The waterfall below will vibrate through my shell and body all night long. In that steady pulsing I can rest. All night I shall be like a sleeping ear.

  • Poetry
  • Translation
Next