方禮倫:Memories of Snow 異鄉初雪

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圖片來源:路透社

It’s the first Saturday in December, 2020. Drawing open the curtains I am greeted with an unexpected sight.(註 1)

Snows fall silently in the dim morning light, blanketing the outdoors in a crisp, white, icy powder. These are the first snows of this winter.(註 2)

The herd of horses in the field have gathered together, and stand huddled under the shelter provided by a small crop of trees. The two ponies, born this year in early summer, stand in the centre. Watching them from the bedroom window makes me feel the cold.(註 3)

Snow continues to be a novelty for me. It is a link to childhood memories of winter holidays here, in England, and more importantly, of time I spent with my father.(註 4)

We would have snowball fights and build snowmen together. Most fun of all was when we would take the toboggans to a nearby hill, from where we would race each other down the slope. I always seemed to win, even when I would career off line and my toboggan ground to a premature halt.

They are special memories partly because they are so few.

I did not always catch the snow. Some years the snows came before the holidays, when I was still in school in Hong Kong. Other years, they came in January, when I had returned. Some years there was no snow at all.

But most of all my memories are so few because I spent such little time with my father. He left me when I was nine.

So the snows are also bittersweet. A reminder of a most wondrous time in my life, but also, as becomes apparent with age, a time of innocence.(註 5)

Today, as I look out on the snow, my joy at the wonder of the sight is tempered by the realisation that I no longer look upon it with the eyes of a child, nor with the heart of one enjoying a holiday with my family. I now look upon the snow as a migrant laying tender new roots in a familiar yet foreign land. Without a home to return to in the land of my birth, I sense the darkness of a winter’s day and feel the cold more intensely.(註 6)

The snows are still beautiful. The church across the road, draped in a thin layer of snow serene, seemingly more sacred in this holy month. The wilderness is more serene. But at this time of year I do miss my family, friends and the roots I have now left behind.(註 7)

陶傑點評

香港人若移民英國,須有度過冬天的準備。英國的冬天很長,由 11 月中開始,延續到第二年的 4 月初,一般都會下雪。

常住在熱帶,適應下雪也要一些心理空間。年幼的子女通常會覺得很興奮,對雪人、追逐擲雪球,在山丘蹲坐著塑膠雪板由高處滑下,是滑雪運動的先修課。作者離開香港,見到英國的新雪初冬,不免觸景生情。

我們看看作者如何由眼前的雪景,逐步將視野拉闊,超時駕空,由情境入性靈。

1.

  • 開頭的寫法比較像新聞報道。那一年那一月,撥開窗簾,驚見滿地皆白,原來昨夜大地淪陷給雪軍。

2.

  • blanketing:將名詞當動詞用,大地披上了一層銀妝。在 “crisp, white, icy powder” 之後,用一個眾數:These are。“These” 不是指 powder,而是與開頭的 snows 保持一致。許多香港人寫作時,往往忽略了此等嚴謹之處。單數和眾數、名詞和動詞必須各自配搭分明,不可粗心大意。

3.

  • 然後像繪畫一樣,只一片風景不夠,要加上生命的焦點。馬群棲息在冬日的荒野,今年夏天剛出生的兩匹小馬,也瑟縮在馬群中接受庇暖。此一觀察細節,亦見作者性格中的人道懷抱。

4.

  • 此處筆鋒一轉。雪景令他想起童年時的回憶。童年的冬天,父親是記憶裡龐大的一個主角。上文講到剛出生的小馬,原來是舐犢情深的淺淺伏筆。

5.

  • 作者想到童年時和父親一起冬天玩雪的情景。太平日子,其間穿插著往來英港之間的學校和家庭生活,只是 9 歲那年父親離開了。「離開」是甚麼意思?故意不明說,其中曖昧,更添愁緒。

6.

  • 因為經歷過人生的不快樂,童年已逝,回頭再看故地的一片雪景,已是兩樣的心情。作者覺得自己是移民,在冷寂的冬天裡,重新植根,希望在發芽。但一切是否如願?在幽暗的冬天裡,有一絲切割的苦痛。

7.

  • 文章的結論,轉為樂觀的盼望。冬天還是很美的,與其多愁善感,傷春悲秋,應該盡快適應新環境,並為自己成熟了而感到歡欣。

推薦延伸閱讀

因雪景而生情懷,寫得最深刻的經典短篇小說,我認為是愛爾蘭小說家喬伊斯(James Joyce)的「往生者(The Dead)」—— 講述幾個老朋友除夕敘舊,其中一個看見窗外初雪的風景,突然於生死興亡的輪迴有所感悟。此篇可與本文平行共讀,而作者這篇短小的抒情文,雖然表述主觀,亦不無殊途同歸的意境。

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。