方禮倫:Change Itself Is A Beautiful Thing 變化之美

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圖片來源:路透社

The clocks have lost an hour. Outside the leaves are falling, covering our driveway and lawns in a blanket of yellow and brown. Inside our home, a wood fire gently glows. The air is dry, and the light dim, and the mellow hues of autumn are giving way to the brown nakedness of winter.(註 1)

My first true experience of England’s changing seasons was two years ago. Whilst I had lived here before, as a student, it isn’t the same. I am no longer sojourning. England, and this village, is now my family home.(註 2)

England has seasons in a way Hong Kong does not. And whether we welcome winter’s approach depends on our state of mind.(註 3)I did not enjoy my first winter.

It was cold, dim and grey. We spent most of our time indoors, finding comfort not only in warmth but, as the days grow short, in light. Last year I told a friend, who had been raised here, how I felt. His reply changed me more deeply than I had expected.

“I know how you must feel. It is very different from Hong Kong,” he said. “But what I see are the changing seasons, and each season is beautiful in its own way.(註 4)

Change itself is a beautiful thing. It is the promise of something new. We can define our experience of winter by it being cold and dark. Equally, we can define it through the comfort and pleasure we take in warmth and in light. Summers can never be cosy in the same way.(註 5)

There are many lessons here. As many Hong Kongers emigrate to UK, and for many it will be their first experience of living outside of Hong Kong, adjusting to a different climate will be one of many challenges they are likely to face. English weather may not be as bad as is often believed — New York and Paris receive on average more rainfall than London, and more extreme temperature.

But it is very different to Hong Kong. If England is to be your new home, even if this may in some hearts be a home in exile, we must learn to embrace it, and to see the differences not as bad but as simply different. Even winter, the darkest of seasons, can with a change of perspective be a source of great joy.

There is also a lesson, perhaps more bitter, to be learnt in how we view Hong Kong. Hong Kong has changed. But in what may feel like winter, beauty can still be found with a change in perspective. If the days have shortened and the cold set in, let us find more comfort and beauty in the little heat that remains. When the light dims, the smallest flicker will illuminate.(註 6)

Like the coming of winter, the Hong Kong I knew and loved, and which I felt once represented the person I am, is in a cold, dark place. There is much to feel despondent about, and much to feel rightly angry about. If changing our perspective feels too sudden, and too early into this new season, remember this:

Nothing is permanent. All empires fade. In the midst of every winter is the knowledge that spring will follow.(註 7)

陶傑點評

方禮倫這篇續稿,似乎是應景於 BNO 時勢,為有志移民英國或來留學的香港人而寫。

這是一篇情理兼容的抒情文。其中盛載作者的真感受。作者小時候在英國住過,但此刻重臨也感到陌生。「少小離家老大回」的情景,時值初秋,香港涼意早生,英國卻已經是蕭瑟驚惶。作者由季節的更迭感悟世變無常,季節的變易可以預料,但你生長的地方變質了,卻從未想到過。此刻回到另一家鄉,遂倍覺傷感。

我建議香港家長將這篇文章讓子女一讀。不但對英文寫作有幫助,可以學如何用淺白的詞彙表達深沉的意義;文章的結構轉折、明喻和暗喻的運用,都是很好的英文課、情感課,以至人生小小的一課。

1.

  • 英文寫作開頭常用場景和細節,以小見大。時鐘又撥慢一小時:The clocks have lost an hour。指連英國也改用冬令時間了。作者的感受由行冬令時間開始。窗外落葉飄降,令草地披上了一層棕黃的氈子,屋裡點著了一小角壁爐,空氣很乾,光線很暗,而秋色真正在向赤裸的冬天過渡。
  • 這一段功力深厚,有視覺場景,有顏色,由牆上的鐘開始,像電影的 Pan Shot,為作者以下的感受和論點設定了場景。
  • 延伸的閱讀是一首古老的情歌,叫做 Autumn Leaves。大家不妨上網一聽,比較歌詞與這一段文字。

2.

  • 「英國」有三個名稱:United Kingdom、Britain、England。有沒有想過三個名字有何分別?第一個是國家政治意義的名字;第二個是通稱;而 England 是帶有感情的家鄉名詞。若有人說:I’m going back to England next week,他在強調他的家鄉不是蘇格蘭或威爾士,是指北從約克,下至英倫海峽的澤西島、東至多佛,西至康沃爾(Cornwall)的這片面積。England 一詞帶有感情意味。現代作者羅倫斯(D. H. Lawrence)即有短篇小說集,叫做 England, My England

3.

  • 此處筆觸一轉,由英格蘭遙望香港。Whether we welcome winter approach depends on our state of mind。英國的冬天相當灰沉,來自亞熱帶的香港人不一定適應。作者以自己的經驗對香港人說話,句句體貼。

4.

  • 不要厭惡英國的冬天。每一個季節有其獨特的美感。這句話很重要。換一種心態,換一種眼光,換一個層次,春夏秋冬各有奇珍,生老病死也各有其事。

5.

  • 「變」的本身是一種美態,是新的事物發生的預告和過程。可以用寒冷和陰暗來定義冬天,但同時當太陽出來,對比之下,冬陽的溫暖卻是更令人喜悅的快感。而在夏天,天天都熱,反而沒有英國冬天那一份舒閒。這是很獨特看法。

6.

  • 由感情回歸英國時經歷的季節之變,想到香港社會環境的質變。當光線暗下來,最小的一線火焰也會點著。這句話一語相關,令文章的意境再提升一層。

7.

  • 然後作者想到香港氣候的不同,但處境亦與英國濕冷陰暗的冬季相若。作者說:天下無一事恆久不變。所有的帝國霸權都短暫。在深冬時人人都要記得:春天會到來的。此一結尾有雪萊「西風頌(Ode to the West Wind)」的意思:所謂「冬天來了,春天還會遠」?雖是恆常道理,此處作結,由於有前面的轉折鋪陳,讀來一樣感人。

這是一篇寫作的範文,如何由小見大,以淺入深,觀察社會,觸類旁通,了解人生。真正的勵志,由切身的經驗開始。

陶傑英文遊花園

香港和台灣,面臨世紀的變局。海外華人居住西方國家,也數目龐大。如何提升英文程度,克服文化隔閡,加強英文能力,在亂世中至關重要。

許多華人都有合理的職業或專業的英文程度,但如何在原有的中學文法訓練基礎之上,探討高層次的英語文化和表達方式,以備融入英語世界主流社會?

本欄介紹評析欣賞英文的寫作細節,分享經驗,歡迎提出不同的評析角度和心得。

※ 此欄文章為作者觀點,不代表本網立場。 ※
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方禮倫(Evan Fowler ) ,本地出生成長、中英交界的香港人,在劍橋和倫敦大學政經學院畢業。現居英國。 英文怎樣能表達得更好?香港的英文教育,著重文法正確、詞彙廣泛。但除了這兩樣,說好的英文、寫好的英文,還要有某種英語的理性與感性思維。 好的英文必清晰、婉約而有教養,與中文寫作文化略有不同。有時借用英文的文化特色,用於中文,可以別具一格。但若有一日移居英語國家,與以英語為母語的當地人溝通,融入主流社會,摸通英文表達藝術的深層結構,會很有用。 方禮倫的英文筆觸細膩,每週五他會以英文與我們見一次面,講述香港和海外華人關心的事情。除了獨特的觀點,其文筆可供英文寫作學習參考。