We too have changed, if not ‘utterly’,
And something beautiful was born.

Where have they all gone now?

文:梁錫嵐

筆者偶然在課堂上認識了兩篇關於六四的英文詩歌竟然都是由香港詩人所寫。一篇是Louise Ho(何少韻)的“Remembering 4th June, 1989”,另一篇是Leung Ping-kwan(梁秉鈞/也斯)的“Still Life”。為什麼兩位在香港長大的人,會選擇以英詩記錄或記念六四?英詩這個媒介有什麼特別之處?

陌生的英文

我相信對普遍香港人來說,英文是一種頗為陌生的語言。這也是閱讀或寫作英詩的第一障礙。陌生的原因不僅是因為不是母語,而且與英語的定性有關。從小學以來,我感覺學習英文只是為了掌握一個工具,在課堂考試或遇到英文老師時應用。要不是高中選修英語文學,我也不會欣賞英文的文字和表達,而當初選修的原因亦只是模糊的「鍛鍊英文」。愛上英文文學後,又有感只能和一同選修的同學分享。

後來發現,在香港,英文一直被視作一種商業工具和地位指標,而不是一種溝通的模式。1997年3月,英殖民政府宣佈460間中學之中僅留100間以英文教學,惹起許多家長和學校反對,主要理據是政策將導致英文教學貴族化,造成更大的資源不平等。這當然是值得思考的問題,但我覺得理據背後亦有將英文視為工具的邏輯。在1999年,香港政府讓學校自行選擇教育語言,而英文的定位始終沒有改變。評論人Elaine Ho指,關於英文的公共討論一般集中在課室情景,且以口語能力為主,而忽略了其他的社會領域 [1] 。這自然是因為課堂學習直接影響將來就業。而同時用中文和英文寫作的詩人Leung Ping-kwan(梁秉鈞/也斯)亦指,香港媒體一般只教人如何在西方的情景中像個西方人般說英語,或是與西方人做生意時所需的職場英語 [2] 。
[1] Elaine Ho. “Chinese English, English Chinese:Biliteracy and Translation”. Hong Kong culture: Word and image. Hong Kong University Press, 2010.
[2] LEUNG, Ping-kwan. City at the End of Time 形象香港: Poems by Leung Ping-kwan 梁秉鈞詩選. Hong Kong University Press, 2012.

因此,如果有人以文學性英語描述香港,好像是一件奇怪的事情。有指以英文書寫會令詩人變作家鄉的陌生人,但其實這種陌生的感覺正是詩人需要的,特別是在描繪和評論六四的時候。對Louise Ho來說,陌生正是接近的起點。她曾在一篇文章中引用了文學評論人Ackbar Abbas對她的評價:「英語文學是一個離開的起點,讓這個詩人能夠拾起本地生活和政治的負擔。」 [3] 想來詩人在面對六四讓人震驚的一幕時,很想儘快記錄,卻又因失措而反應不過來,正如Louise Ho那句“but how shall you and I/ Name them, one by one?”這是因為這些傷痛過於沉重又過於接近。於是詩人需要以英文作為抽離的方法和記錄的起點,才能在詩中承載六四。
[3] Louise Ho. “Hong Kong writing and writing Hong Kong”. Hong Kong English: autonomy and creativity. Hong Kong University Press, 2002.

另外,我想英文所產生的陌生感,亦對應著港人面對六四時的某種陌生。Louise Ho在“Remembering 4th June, 1989”著重描寫了香港人面對六四的狀態,屠城的傷亡某程度上是“our neighbor’s blood”(我們鄰居的血),有近距離的震撼,又有隔了一層的感覺。當時還是英殖的香港在某程度上是一個旁觀者,但「鄰居的血」亦催生了香港這個商港的政治覺醒——“We have at last/Become ourselves.”,而英文表現了這種隔了一層的曖昧狀態。

英詩如何介入政治?

說完英文,再說說詩。我認識的一些熱愛文學的朋友,大多對政治沒有很大興趣。文學與政治似乎經常被分離,但歷史上亦不乏政治文學。到底文學有沒有政治性?文學可以如何介入政治?英詩的介入又有什麼特別之處?

同是回應六四的英詩,Louise Ho與Leung Ping-kwan的詩卻非常不同。Louise Ho的“Remembering 4th June, 1989”在標題便開宗明義,表明記錄六四。在這篇詩,六四的政治背景非常明顯,詩有很強的政治性。Louise Ho的風格直白,詩的首節便提及三位著名英文詩人“Marvell, Dryden,/Yeats”,他們都以評論政事為名。這首詩收錄在1994年出版的詩集Local Habitation(本地居所),著意描述香港人面對六四的反應,亦延展至97回歸的意識和焦慮。1989年對香港無疑是一個轉捩點。詩的第二節有一句“The stunned world responded, and/Pointing an accusing finger, felt cheated.”便是對應這個轉變。在1980年代,世界(包括香港)均認為中國將日漸開明甚至民主化。中國實行改革開放,從文革的壓抑中解放;84年的《中英聯合聲明》落實中方對港的「一國兩制」方針和「高度自治」原則,香港可維持五十年不變;香港「民主回歸」的呼聲亦很高。儘管腐敗問題和經濟不平等的狀況逐漸顯現,但整體的自由氣氛和八九民運的出現仍讓人充滿希望,直至六四,因而會有“felt cheated”的感覺。

不過細想起來,其實中國對民主回歸從沒有什麼實質的保證,一切可能都只是香港人的一廂情願。緊接著“feel cheated”的一句,下一節Louise Ho便說“But think, my friend, think: China never/ Promised a tea party, or cakes/For the masses”,頗有諷刺意味。“tea party”和“cakes”可以指向一種英式悠閒和享受,或是所謂的「馬照跑,舞照跳」。面對89及其撕開的現實,港人亦開始為前途擔憂——“But, rather pick ears of corn/ In a foreign field/ Than plough the home ground/ Under an oppressive yoke.”

在描述港人的驚愕和憂慮之餘,Louise Ho亦描述了港人在當時爆發的力量,當中的意象亦對應當時的政治社會背景。比如描述原本只注重個人經濟利益的香港人首次團結——“Then, this compact commercial enclave,/First time, ever, rose up as one.”,便是對應香港在六四前後的兩次百萬人大遊行,在5月21日,百萬港人更於跑馬地馬場集會,擺脫了「馬照跑、舞照跳」的思想,是一次政治啟蒙。而六四亦催生了本土意識——“We have at last/ Become ourselves./ The catalyst/ Was our neighbor’s blood.”。

文學評論人Abbas指,以往「香港故事」都會轉向其他地方,比如中國、台灣、西方等,好像香港只是一個賺錢的暫留之地或中轉站,直到1989以後,才開始有人談到「香港」的獨有文化 [4] 。不過這也是臨近97才發生的事,而諷刺的是需要看到鄰居的慘烈、感受既陌生又逼近的殘酷之後,才能催生這種意識。
[4] Ackbar Abbas. “Introduction.” City at the End of Time 形象香港: Poems by Leung Ping-kwan 梁秉鈞詩選. Hong Kong University Press, 2012.

相比起Louise Ho的直接和濃烈的政治色彩,Leung Ping-kwan的詩“Still Life”則比較曖昧。他在1989年寫下這首與運動相關的詩,想來也是為了回應六四。儘管他沒有指明六四,但他的作品還是有政治背景和意識。不過他的意象和描述可以適用於任何一個運動。這篇詩主要是說一些人“They”本來在澆花、看書、跳舞,後來變成希望和你“you”溝通和連結的人、和我們親近的人,後來變成絕食的人、為朋友抵擋子彈的人,再後來變成我們的日常和不斷重看的書。當中每個轉折用了一句“Where have they all gone now?”,邀請讀者一同觀察和思考。

在回應政治事件的同時,詩的體裁本身可以抽空情景,加上可以逐字咀嚼和思考的特性,往往留有較大詮釋和想像空間。儘管詩人亦可以像Louise Ho一樣明確指向六四背景,但詩本身並不需要如宣言般直接表明對政治事件的立場,而是讓讀者自行思考其(政治)意義。一些著名詩人亦有運用這種詩的特性,比如Yeats在“Easter 1916”的詩中,便拒絕為愛爾蘭的復活節起義下定論,當中的一句“All changed, changed utterly:/ A terrible beauty is born”本身是很曖昧的,可以指向起義者,也可以指向起義失敗後內亂的人們或是其他,而“terrible beauty”本身便是一種矛盾和曖昧的修辭。Louise Ho亦有借用這一句,變成“We too have changed, if not ‘utterly’,/And something beautiful was born.”,但較有指向性,意思亦較明確,是在說香港人在六四中一種美麗的蛻變。而在Leung Ping-kwan的“Still Life”,他們“They”和你“you”的定位和關係更為模糊,“They”可以指天安門廣場的人、關心六四的人等,“you”可以指讀者、旁觀者、處於旁觀者位置的香港人,但“you”最後變得和“They”有多親密、有沒有接受“They”連結的邀請,有沒有什麼改變,這些都是不確定的,而整首詩的語境亦不限於六四。

兩首香港英詩的呈現方式很不一樣,但都是政治的反映與介入。香港詩人通過陌生的語言拾起沈重的政治和社會傷痛後,可以用不同形式呈現和誘發反思。我想這便是六四英詩的意義所在。我自己亦嘗試寫一首英文短詩,回應兩位詩人的作品。

When the (un)familiar
become disfamiliar
When the bloods buried
and the plants watered
We could rise again
in the shadows of 1989
Survive in tightness
of 2047


Remembering 4th June, 1989
Louise Ho

Yes, I remember Marvell, Dryden,
Yeats, men who had taken up the pen
While others the sword,
That would have vanished
Were it not for the words
That shaped them and keep them

The shadows of June the fourth
Are the shadows of a gesture,
They say, but how shall you and I
Name them, one by one?
There were so many,
Crushed, shot, taken, all overwhelmed,
Cut down without a finished thought or cry.

Presumably, that night, or was it dawn,
The moon shone pure,
As on the ground below
Flowed the blood of men, women and children.
The stunned world responded, and
Pointing an accusing finger, felt cheated.

But think, my friend, think: China never
Promised a tea party, or cakes
For the masses. It is we,
Who, riding on the crest of a long hope,
Became euphoric, and forgot
The rock bottom of a totalitarian state.

Then, this compact commercial enclave,
First time, ever, rose up as one.
Before we went our separate ways again,
We thought as one,
We spoke as one,
We too have changed, if not ‘utterly’,
And something beautiful was born.

As we near the end of an era
We have at last
Become ourselves.
The catalyst
Was our neighbor’s blood.

Whoever would not
For a carefree moment
Rejoice at a return
To the Motherland?
But, rather pick ears of corn
In a foreign field
Than plough the home ground
Under an oppressive yoke.

Ours is a unique genius,
Learning how to side-step all odds
Or to survive them.
We have lived
By understanding

Each in his own way
The tautness of the rope
Underfoot.

Originally published in Incense Tree: Collected Poems Louise Ho
Copyright 2009 by Hong Kong University Press

Still Life
Leung Ping-kwan (Ye Si)

At the beginning, there was someone sitting on the chair
At the beginning, there was someone sitting at the table
At the beginning, there was someone watering a plant
At the beginning, there was someone looking up from the books

Where have they all gone now?

The one who danced to the music
The one who liked eating noodles
The one who liked drinking plain water
The one who wore a hat to keep off the sun

Where have they all gone now?

Was someone who wanted to have a good talk with you
Was someone who wanted to hold your hand tight
Was someone who wanted to sing loud with you
to look at the sky together with you

Where have they all gone now?

Turned into one who shared a drink of water with total strangers
Turned into one who went on hunger strike for what he believes in
Turned into one who dissuaded armed police with tears in eyes
Turned into one who fended off bullets meant for friends

Where have they all gone now?

Squashed to pieces
Riddled with bullets
Blown into sand
Scattered as dust

Where have they all gone now?

Turned into the constant shadows by our sides
Turned into the sun and air of our days
Turned into the plants and furniture in our lives
Turned into the book we read over and over again

Originally published in City Voices: Hong Kong Writing in English 1945 to the Present
Copyright 2003 by Hong Kong University Press

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