何为《困水记》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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困水记[1]

◎ 何为

本月上旬,相隔仅一天,我家老房子先后遭逢两次水灾。旧筑地处繁华市区的低洼地,多年来常为积水所困[2],但水漫厨房乃至客厅,登堂入室,以今年这两次最为严重,尤其是第二次。

是日,上午十点许,出门上街到对马路的医院治眼疾。不久就听到雨声雷声,顷刻间窗外白茫茫的雨水混沌一片。百年罕见的特大暴雨,狂泻如瀑布,如山洪暴发。雨水的急骤猛烈,雨量之大,真是惊心动魄。

治病购药完毕[3],只能在候诊大厅呆等,病人都被突如其来的狂风暴雨困住了。坐在我旁边的一位七十多岁病者,为坐困水城频频叹气。此公听说多年前我住过的羁旅之地,顿时眉飞色舞提高嗓门,大说其福州话,原来他是福州人。说起当地的一连串风味小吃,两人都如数家珍[4],谈得津津有味。话一停,发现外面的陆地成了海洋,于是只能坐下来再谈榕城风情,借以消磨时间。

暴雨来势虽猛,其实时间并不太长,由于苦等心焦,感到这场雨像是没完没了。终于有人试探地撑着伞向雨街走去,我也跟着起步踏上归程[5]。

医院的边门距我家不过一箭之遥,过马路不远就是我家的弄堂口。这一段路历年来不知翻修过多少次[6],无奈下大雨积水为患,始终没有解决。这一天路面更是大水泛滥,水深及膝,我别无选择,只能穿着皮鞋在泽国中小心翼翼地蹒跚而行。

偏偏最近又在修路,通行的只是一半马路,路上坑坑洼洼高高低低,过马路又必须从丁字路口绕道过去。行人很少。我颤巍巍地涉水步行,忽然想起自己的年龄。小时候,总感到年龄属于七老八十的长辈们,与自己无关。我的祖父六十岁时早已蓄须,不免显得老态,那时我只有十岁。现在我年已八十,在浑浊的水中,有如滚滚浪潮中的一叶孤舟[7]。我闪避汽车开过的泥水飞溅,艰难地过马路,进弄堂,推入家门,厨房里满地积水,过道上也是积水,甚至地面较高的客堂后间也浸满大水。除了冰箱已提前移开,家具都被水淹,我只有望洋兴叹[8]。

这次去医院不足三小时,大部分时间都在归途上荡漾的水中度过。上了年纪,老年性疾病相继袭来,生活中不少时光都消耗在医院里。两个月前不慎伤脚,竟缠上石膏[9]。“石膏长靴”[10]刚除去,现在又遇水灾。一个目力不济的八十老翁,无人扶持,不用拐杖,摇摇晃晃在大水中跋涉,似乎有几分勇敢,也有几分悲壮[11]。

被无情的岁月推入老龄社会的众多老者,过着凡夫俗子的生活,惟有自勉自励,加强自我保护意识,坚强地在人生道路上向前走去,否则又如何?[12]

《困水记》是散文家何为写于2001年8月的一篇小品。作者年老多病,孤居闹市,住房累累水淹,倾诉苦楚,并鼓励广大老龄人加强自我保护意识,坚强生活下去。

[1]题目“困水记”可译为Stranded in a Flood或Stuck in a Flood。

[2]“多年来常为积水所困”可按“多年来常被水淹”译为has for years been subject to floods或has been flooded time and again in recent years。

[3]“购药完毕”可按“配完药”译为after having the prescriptions filled(或made up)。

[4]“如数家珍”可译为like we were enumerating our family treasures或as if we were examining one by one our family treasures with delight,或as if we were naming with delight each of our family valuables。

[5]“我也跟着起步踏上归程”可按“我也跟着这样做”译为I just followed suit,取其简洁。

[6]“历年来不知翻修过多少次”译为has undergone repair I don’t know how many times in recent years,其中I don’t know how是英语常用插入语,作状语用。此句也可译为has in recent years been repeatedly repaired。

[7]“现在我年已八十,在浑浊的水中,有如滚滚浪潮中的一叶孤舟”译为Now, as an octogenarian, I was like a solitary small boat drifting at the mercy of a large flow of muddy water,其中drifting at the mercy of是译文中的增益词,意为“在……(浊浪)支配下漂泊”。

[8]“我只有望洋兴叹”可按“我只感无可奈何”译为I felt simply helpless,其中simply意同completely。

[9]“缠上石膏”意即“上了石膏”,译为in plaster

[10]“石膏长靴”指“石膏绷带”可译为plaster cast或plaster bandage

[11]“也有几分悲壮”译为Yet, it’s something of a stirring tragedy too,其中something of作“有点儿”、“有几分”解。

[12]“否则又如何?”可译为What else can they do? What can they do otherwise?

Stranded in a Flood

◎ He Wei

Early last month, my old house was twice flooded within three days. Situated in a low-lying part of the busy downtown area, it has for years been subject to floods. But the worst flood occurred this year, especially after the second rain, with our kitchen, sitting room and even bedrooms all covered with water.

On the morning of that day, I went to the hospital on the other side of the street at about 10 o’clock to see an eye-doctor. Soon a fierce thunderstorm broke out and I saw a vast expanse of foamy floodwater outside the window. It was an exceptionally serious rainstorm, dashing down like a cataract or mountain torrents. What a scary scene!

The patients were stranded by the sudden downpour. All we could do was sit in the big hospital waiting room after having the prescriptions filled. Sitting by my side was a patient in his seventies. He kept sighing over the nasty weather. Learning that I had been a dweller of Fuzhou many years ago, he brightened up at once and began to speak the Fuzhou dialect loudly. He turned out to be a native of Fuzhou. We began to chat with relish about the typical local delicacies of Fuzhou like we were enumerating our family treasures.

Then, during a break in the conversation, we found the streets submerged by water, so we had to sit down and resume chatting about Fuzhou so as to while away the time.

The violent storm did not last long at all. But it seemed interminable due to my impatience. At last, as I saw someone venture into the wet street under an umbrella, I just followed suit.

It’s only a stone’s throw from the hospital to my home, which is situated at the entrance of a lane across the street. The section of the street here has undergone repair I don’t know how many times, yet it still floods whenever there is a rain. Now, on that day, it was flooded knee-deep because of an especially heavy rain. All I could do was stagger along cautiously in the deep water in my leather shoes.

It happened that the street was under repair with only half of it for free passage, but full of bumps and hollows. One had to make a detour at a T-juncture. There were few pedestrians. As I tottered through the water, I suddenly thought of my age. When I was a kid, I used to think that age had nothing to do with me and associated it instead only with my elders in their sixties or eighties. When I was ten, my grandpa, at sixty, looked quite old for his age because of the beard he was wearing. Now, as an octogenarian, I was like a solitary small boat drifting at the mercy of a large flow of muddy water. I barely managed to cross the street, taking care to dodge the muddy water splashed over by cars. At last I entered the lane and, pushing open the door of my house, I found the kitchen, the passageway and even the place behind the drawing room all flooded. All furniture, except the fridge that had been previously moved elsewhere, was soaking wet. I felt simply helpless.

Altogether, it took me less than three hours to see the doctor, but a greater part of the time was spent in wading through the floodwater on my way home. People advanced in age are liable to various kinds of senile diseases. That’s why they spend a lot of time in going to hospital. Two weeks ago, I had one of my legs in plaster after injuring it through carelessness. Now, with the plaster cast removed, I was harassed by a flood. It seemed a bit of an act of bravery for me, an 80-year-old man with impaired eyesight, to totter through the floodwater without a helping hand or a walking stick. And it’s something of a stirring tragedy too.

Many who have been forced into the ageing society by inexorable time are now living the life of common people. They need more self-encouragement and more awareness of self-protection, and should live on with a strong will. What else can they do?

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