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“Sunday Morning”, Wallace Stevens

September 06, 2020

I
Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

II
Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measures destined for her soul.

III
Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.

IV
She says, “I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?”
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.

V
She says, “But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.”
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.

VI
Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set the pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

VII
Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.

VIII
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

I
浴袍的悠然自得,向阳
椅子上迟来的咖啡和橙子,
与美冠鹦鹉的绿色自由
在地毯上混和以驱散
那古代祭献的神圣寂静。
她做了些梦,她感到
那古老灾难的黑暗侵蚀,
当一种平静在水光间变暗。
浓烈的橙子与明亮的绿色翅膀
像某种死者行进里的事物,
蜿蜒穿过宽的水面,没有声音。
白天像宽的水面,没有声音,
被平息,当她梦中的脚步
越过海洋,去往宁静的巴勒斯坦,
血与坟墓的统治。

II
为何她应将她的馈赠给予死者?
何为神灵,若它仅能
在无声的影子与梦中到来?
她难道不能,在太阳的舒适,
浓郁的果实与明亮的绿色翅膀,或是
地上其他任何安慰与美之中,
找到同天堂之思一样被珍视之物?
神灵必须活在她自身之内:
雨的激情,或落雪时的心绪;
孤独之悲切,森林繁盛时
未经抑制的高扬;秋夜
湿路上如阵风吹拂的情感;
一切喜悦与一切苦痛,记起
夏天的树枝与冬天的枝条。
这些是她灵魂所注定的尺度。

III
云中的朱庇特有他非人的诞生。
没有母亲哺育他,没有甜蜜的土地
给他神秘的心灵以大方的运动。
他在我们间走动,像一个呢喃的王,
庄严,在其子民间走动,
直到我们的血,贞洁,与天堂
混合,给欲望以报偿
而这些子民在一颗星中发现它。
我们的血会不会枯竭?它是否能成为
乐园的血?大地是否会
相似于我们将知道的乐园?
那时的天空会远比现在友好,
一部分劳作而一部分痛苦,
荣耀仅次于持久的爱,
而非如今分离并冷漠的蓝色。

IV
她说,“我满足,当醒来的鸟
在飞翔前,试探雾中
原野的真实,以其甜蜜的问询;
然而当群鸟离去,它们温暖的原野
不再返回,那时,乐园在何处?
不再有任何启示出没,
没有墓的古老幻象,
或金色的地底,悦耳
的岛屿,灵魂归乡之处,
没有幻想的南方,也没有云中棕榈
远在天堂山上,曾持续
如四月绿色的持续;或将要持续,
像她对醒来群鸟的记忆,
或是她对六月与晚间的欲望,
由燕子羽翼的完满所预告。

V
她说,“但在满足中我依然感到
我需要某种不朽的至福。”
死亡是美的母亲;因此从她,
独自一人,将会到来我们梦想
与愿望的实现。虽然她将确然
消灭的叶子撒满我们的路,
病的忧愁所走的路,众多的道路上
胜利曾鸣响它刺耳的句子,爱情
曾因温柔而稍稍低语,
她令柳树在太阳下颤抖
为那些少女,她们曾习惯坐着
并凝视青草屈伏在脚下。
她使男孩们把新的李子与梨堆在
被遗忘的盘上。少女们品尝
并在纷乱的落叶里热切地走失。

VI
在乐园中没有死亡的变化?
熟透的果实从不掉落?或许枝条
永远低垂在完美的天空中,
不变,却酷似我们将逝的尘世,
有与其相似的河流,追寻着永远
无法到达的海,有同样后退的海岸
在无法言明的痛楚中永不相触?
何必在这些河畔挂上梨
或给河岸增添李子的香味?
唉,它们也得有我们的色彩,
我们午后如丝的编织,
并拨动我们乏味的琉特琴弦!
死亡是美的母亲,神秘,
在她炽热的胸中我们设想
我们尘世的母亲,无眠地等待。

VII
灵敏而激烈,绕成一圈的人
将会在夏日清晨的狂欢中歌唱
他们对太阳的喧闹奉献,它
不作为神,而以神可能的样子,
裸身在他们中间,像野蛮的源泉。
他们的歌将是乐园的歌,
来自他们的血,回返于天上;
而在他们歌中将进入,一声接一声,
令他们的主喜悦的有风的湖,
像六翼天使的树,回响的山坡,
他们间久久回荡的合唱。
他们会清楚知道那天堂般的友谊
属于将逝的人也属于夏日清晨。
而他们从何处来,向何处去
将由他们脚上的露水显示。

VIII
她听见,在无声的水上,
一个声音呼喊,“巴勒斯坦的墓
不是灵魂们徘徊的门廊。
它是耶稣的墓,他躺卧其中。”
我们活在太阳的古老混沌里,
或是日与夜的悠久依赖,
或岛的孤独,无所凭依,自由,
属于那宽的水域,无处逃避。
鹿走在我们的山上,鹌鹑
于我们周围自发呼哨;
甜蜜的浆果于荒野成熟;
而,在天空的孤立中,
于傍晚时分,偶然的鸽群作出
暧昧的起伏并下落,
沉入黑暗,在伸展的羽翼上。

  • Poetry
  • Translation
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