2016年12月30日 星期五

"Do not go gentle into that good night". In Wales, a Toast to Dylan Thomas on His 100th Birthday

"Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


In Wales, a Toast to Dylan Thomas on His 100th Birthday

Laugharne JournalNovember 07, 2014

Thomas would have turned 100 this month. And Wales, long ill at ease with its hard-living, hard-loving son, is celebrating perhaps its greatest poet.

Down the footpath from his writing shed, along the curve of the water and up the hill, you see what the poet Dylan Thomas once saw: tall birds on the “heron priested shore,” a “sea wet church the size of a snail” atop the ridge, the castle ruin to your left still “brown as owls.”
Poem in October,” in which Thomas reflects on his 30th birthday, unfolds verse after verse as you walk through the landscape that made him, and that he remade in turn, culminating with a final cliff-top exclamation:
“O may my heart’s truth
still be sung
on this high hill in a year’s turning.”
Thomas died young, at 39, after boasting that he had downed 18 straight whiskeys (“I believe that’s the record”) in New York in 1953. On Monday, he would have turned 100. His small country, long ill at ease with its hard-living, hard-loving son who wrote in English, not in Welsh, and caricatured his roots as much as he claimed them, is celebrating perhaps its greatest poet.
Thomas has been called the James Joyce of Wales and compared to his own hero, John Keats. He wrote some of the most recognizable verse of the 20th century: “Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales, who grew up in this part of western Wales, traces her own poetic awakening to the day she first heard Thomas read on the BBC, his voice summoning her 15-year-old self to “the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack fishboat-bobbing sea” that she too knew so well. “He takes from and gives back to the landscape and the language, until the place speaks the poetry as much as the poetry voices the landscape,” Ms. Clarke said.
Many here say Thomas’s poetry has been denied the recognition it deserves on teaching plans and in academic circles. The colorful stories of his drinking and womanizing — some true, some invented (often by himself) — might have contributed to a James Dean-like notoriety in the United States, where he counts two former presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, among his fans. (Mr. Carter was instrumental in winning Thomas a memorial stone, belatedly, in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, in 1982.)
But that reputation appalled many in Wales, as did Thomas’s flawless English accent. Denied the Welsh language and sent to elocution lessons by his father as a boy, Thomas was long considered too English for the Welsh and too Welsh for the English. (“He belongs to the English,” the Welsh nationalist Saunders Lewis scoffed.)
Refocusing public attention on his work has been one of the aims of the centenary, said Hannah Ellis, president of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain and a patron of this year’s events. (The other being, no doubt, to make him the tourist attraction that Joyce has long been in Ireland. Thomas’s melancholy portrait now appears on everything from whiskey bottles to aprons.)
It is a personal quest for Ms. Ellis, 36, who shares the poet’s short build and unruly locks. The daughter of Thomas’s daughter Aeronwy, she discovered her grandfather’s work only five years ago when she lost a baby and her mother, and then had a son. She found comfort in Thomas’s “timeless wisdom” about life and death and birth and God, she said. Ms. Ellis, a schoolteacher, wants his work to be taught more widely and creatively.
A duplicate of his writing shed — complete with a half-smoked pack of Woodbine cigarettes and paper balls of discarded verse strewn across the desk — has been set up at schools, housing projects, literary festivals and even last month’s NATO summit meeting, held mostly in Newport, Wales.
Thomas’s birthplace, Swansea, that “ugly, lovely town,” where he wrote two-thirds of his work in a teenage outpouring, is erecting another statue. Thomas quotations zip around the city center on public maintenance vehicles and the No. 5 bus: “Swansea is still the best place,” reads one, an extract from a letter he wrote to a friend in 1938.
There are guided tours of nearly every aspect of Thomas’s life: His childhood home; Cwmdonkin Park, whose dense vegetation gave him nightmares of “terrifying half-people,” but also became the inspiration for a story about a love triangle; the near beaches of the Gower Peninsula, where he rehearsed for the Swansea Little Theater and debated politics with his friend Bert Trick, a socialist grocer; and a seemingly interminable list of the poet’s favorite haunts: the Uplands Hotel, the Bay View, the No Sign Bar, the Antelope, the Mermaid and more.
But nothing is as it was in Swansea, badly bombed during the war. A more timeless glimpse can be found 40 miles west in Laugharne (pronounced LARN), in Thomas’s words, “the strangest town in the world.”
Thomas’s parents grew up across the estuary, and he spent his childhood summers in Fern Hill, his aunt’s farm and the title of one of his most famous poems. He lived in the area on and off for 15 years, including the last four, and is buried in the village cemetery with his wife, Caitlin.
Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales. Some people are trying to refocus attention in Wales on the work of Dylan Thomas. “The soul of his poetry is here,” Ms. Clarke said.
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
“The soul of his poetry is here,” Ms. Clarke said.
The Boathouse, where Thomas lived (“a seashaken house on a breakneck of rocks”), is still there, as is Browns Hotel, his local haunt and now a boutique hotel that calls itself “a bar with rooms.” At the corner table facing the door, Thomas would “molder,” collecting stories and picking up colloquialisms. “Under Milk Wood,” his best-known play, which locals insist is based on their town, chronicles a day in an imaginary seaside village called Llareggub. (Read it backward for a sense of his mischievous humor.)
“If Dylan Thomas walked into Laugharne today, he could write ‘Under Milk Wood’ all over again,” Carl Thornton, a 48-year-old architect, said over a pint one recent evening. “In this town, if you say good morning to the wrong person, within 10 hours you are having an affair.”
Bob Stevens, the mayor of Laugharne, feels a special relationship with Thomas: His birthday is in October, too. When his children were young, he would take them up Sir John’s Hill and read them Thomas’s “Poem in October,” telling them of the poet who lived across the water from their family farm.
For the centenary, Mr. Stevens, 67, created the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk, which guides literary pilgrims through the poem and its landmarks on a series of placards. The walk is free, and those who come on their own birthday get a free drink at Browns.
“I’m just a farmer, but in the end, I think Dylan was like all of us,” said Mr. Stevens, quoting the Rev. Eli Jenkins from “Under Milk Wood”: “Not wholly good or bad.”
On Thomas’s hundredth birthday, Mr. Stevens said, he just wanted to make sure that the poet’s “heart’s truth” is still sung on this high hill and beyond.



從詩人迪倫·托馬斯(Dylan Thomas)寫作的小屋沿小徑直下,走過河流的拐彎,爬上山坡,你便能看到他當年曾目睹的景緻:那高大的鳥兒,「神父般棲於岸邊的鷺鷥」,山脊之上「被大海打濕的教堂如蝸牛殼大小」,左邊毀棄的城堡仍然是「夜梟般的棕色」。
在《十月的詩》(Poem in October)中,托馬斯思索自己的30歲生日,當你沿着那段造就了他,並為他重新造就的風景行走之時,這首詩便會一段段在你面前浮現,以終章對懸崖的驚嘆而結束。
托馬斯被稱為威爾士的詹姆斯·喬伊斯(James Joyce),亦常常與他的偶像約翰·濟慈(John Keats)相提並論。他寫過若干20世紀最有特色的詩句:「不要溫柔地進入這美好的夜晚/怒吼,怒吼,即使光芒即將熄滅。」
威爾士國民詩人吉莉安·克拉克(Gillian Clark)也在西威爾士的這一片長大,她回憶自己對詩歌的覺醒是第一次在BBC中聽到托馬斯朗誦,他的聲音令15歲的她想起「野李子的黑色,緩慢、黑暗,有着烏鴉般的黑色,漁船往來的大海」,她對這片海域亦是非常熟悉。「他從這片風景與這種語言中拿走了一些東西,又回饋了一些東西,直到這個地方訴說著詩歌,詩歌的聲音也在風景中迴響,」克拉克說。
很多本地人說托馬斯的詩歌在學術圈和教案中沒有受到應得的認可。關於他的酗酒好色有許多豐富多彩的故事,有些是真的,有些是編造的(通常是他自己編的),它們或許為他在美國贏得了詹姆斯·迪恩(James Dean)式的惡名,比爾·克林頓(Bill Clinton)和吉米·卡特(Jimmy Carter)兩位前總統都是他的粉絲(1982年,吉米·卡特幫托馬斯在威斯敏斯特教堂詩人角樹立了一塊遲來的紀念碑)。
但在威爾士,托馬斯的名氣和他完美無瑕的英格蘭口音一樣,令很多人感到震驚。托馬斯拒絕使用威爾士語,小時候父親還曾讓他去上過演講課程,長久以來,威爾士人認為托馬斯過於英格蘭化,而英格蘭人又認為他太威爾士(「他屬於英格蘭,」威爾士民族主義者桑德斯·劉易斯[Saunders Lewis]嘲諷說)。
英國迪倫·托馬斯社團的主席,以及這一年若干活動的贊助者漢娜·埃利斯(Hannah Ellis)說,百年慶典的目標之一就是令公眾重新關注他的作品(毫無疑問,另一個目標是讓他吸引遊客,就像喬伊斯長期以來為愛爾蘭吸引遊客一樣。托馬斯憂鬱的肖像如今出現在從威士忌酒瓶到圍裙在內的各種東西上)。
市內有提供導遊服務的旅遊路線,幾乎涵蓋了托馬斯生活中的方方面面:他童年時的家;科姆多金公園,那裡濃密的植被讓他做了關於「可怕的半身人」的噩夢,但也給了他靈感,讓他寫下一個三角愛情故事;還有高爾半島的近海海灘,他曾在那裡為斯旺西小劇場的演出排練,還在那裡和朋友、信仰社會主義的小販伯特·特里克(Bert Trick)討論政治;還有許多他最喜歡出沒的地點,這份名單看上去長得可怕,包括阿普蘭酒店、灣景酒店、無標記酒吧、安蒂洛普酒吧、美人魚酒吧等等。
Andrew Testa for The New York Times
托馬斯住過的船庫(「危險的岩石之上,被海浪撼動的房子」)仍然保留着,還有他常去的布朗斯酒店,如今已成為一個精品酒店,自稱為「帶客房的酒吧」。托馬斯常常在對着門的角落裡「鑄造」,收集故事和俗語。本地人說,他最著名的劇本《牛奶樹下》(Under Milk Wood)就是以這座小鎮為藍本的,它按時間順序描寫了虛構的海濱村莊拉來加布一天內發生的事(Llareggub,這個詞從後往前讀是「bugger all」,即「全是蠢貨」,顯示了他惡作劇的幽默感)。
「如果迪倫·托馬斯走進今日的拉爾恩,他可以再寫一部《牛奶樹下》,」前不久的某天晚上,48歲的建築師卡爾·桑頓(Carl Thornton)一品脫酒下肚後這樣說,「在這座小鎮,如果你對錯誤的人說了句早上好,十個小時之內就會有艷遇上身。」
拉爾恩市長鮑勃·斯蒂文斯(Bob Stevens)覺得自己同托馬斯有着特殊的聯繫——他的生日和托馬斯一樣也在10月。斯蒂文斯在自己的孩子們還小的時候,會帶他們去爬約翰爵士山,為他們讀托馬斯的《十月之詩》,給他們講這位詩人的故事,他居住的地方距離斯蒂文斯家的農場只有一水之隔。
「我只是個農夫,但最終我想迪倫和我們大家一樣,」斯蒂文斯引用《牛奶樹下》裡面伊萊·詹金斯牧師(Rev. Eli Jenkins)的話:「不是完全好也不是完全壞」。