石榴花
Pomegranate Flowers

周領順
Zhou Lingshun

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大千世界,萬紫千紅;五彩奇花,爭艷斗勝。名花有人攀附,野花招徠不屑。我卻在不經意間瞥見一樹紅彤彤的石榴花,竟讓我對這名花與野花之間之花,生出了一番感慨。或許她太過平常,童年至今,屢次相遇,竟不曾為其嬌容所動。就是在這幾日,愛憐卻兀自生起。
The world is a blazing brilliance of colors, a dazzling flourish of flowers vying for charm. While renowned flowers win sycophantic admiration, wild ones simply grow humbly unnoticed. Pomegranate flowers, neither a prized species anymore, nor a wild type, evoked in me an unexpected sentiment of emotion after I, quite by accident, caught sight of a pomegranate tree glowing red with flowers. Ever since my childhood, I have had different encounters with pomegranate flowers, and perhaps because they are much too ordinary I should have failed to be touched, not even once, by their charm. It is not until recently that I began to generate an affectionate fondness towards them.

六月初這幾天,揚州的天氣出奇地涼爽,頗有春暖乍寒之意。步行去學校,整整一個小時的路程,健身自不必說。路邊的一草一木近在咫尺,多了親密接觸,而接觸時還免不得產生些許思緒。隨手撿一截干癟的樹枝,推著往前走,童年時學著拖拉機前進的突突聲又在耳畔響起;張嘴銜一片樹葉,蹩腳的口技還能多多少少再現童年時弄葉的玩姿。
Early June of this year saw in Yangzhou an unusually cool temperature, giving one the illusion of a returning early spring. While I was walking to campus, the one-hour trip, which was definitely a good exercise, also brought closer contact with grass or trees adjacent to the roadside. As I was doing so, thoughts tended to arise involuntarily as well. I casually picked up a dry tree branch and walked it along as if I were maneuvering a tractor, its chugging tune that I once imitated as a child reverberating in my ears once more. With a tree leaf placed between the lips, I was still able to whistle it, in an awkward fashion, evidencing my remaining competence in this childhood game with tree leaves.

每次步行,都能瞥見路邊稍遠處長著一棵樹,好似結著泛紅的果實。前兩天路過時就光是那么想象:難道是一棵枇杷樹結著生澀的果實?難道是人家揚州人司空見慣了所以看不上?難道是人們的文明水平提高了,竟放縱這好果子自在生長?管不了那么多,童年爬樹偷果子的情形一時占了上風,鄉間野趣原來就在這里。
Every time I went along the same route, I could always glimpse a distance away from the roadside a particular tree, which seemed to be bearing reddish fruits. Two days ago, I passed by it again, doubts in mind. Was it a loquat bearing astringent fruits? Were the fruits so common that people had their nose turned up at them? Or, was it because people were better-nurtured now so that they pampered the free growth of the fruits? Whatever the reason, I would not care. Childhood experiences of stealing fruits in the tree were prompting me to have one more try. What a rustic delight in doing that!

為飽口福,繞繞路,多走它幾步。可走到樹下,不免悵然所望。原來是一棵開著紅花的石榴樹,花太小,遠看模糊。我說呢,要是結著一樹的寶貝,怎躲得過那些個“早起的鳥兒”呢!
To have a taste of the fruits, I changed my usual route, which only involved a little extra distance to cover. However, I approached only to see a pomegranate tree bearing red flowers, which let me down a little bit. Being small, the flowers were indistinguishable in the distance. No wonder. How could a fruit-bearing tree have kept away the “early birds”?

既來之,則安之。我對著這滿樹的紅花細細地打量。有的花,可謂怒放,綢緞般的“石榴裙”緊束在“細腰”之上;“細腰”之側,總有那么幾枚未及開放的花骨朵兒,似“紅果”頭飾扎在小姑娘的頭上。咦?小姑娘害羞了吧,俏模樣藏在婆娑的樹葉里,卻掖不盡“榴月”(農歷五月的古時雅稱)里滿身的“石榴紅”。悠忽間,未及開放的花骨朵兒變成了二胡上的琴軫,“石榴裙”化作了嗩吶,就連黃色的花蕊,也變作了小喇叭若隱若現的穗飾。滿樹“樂器”,怎不鬧春!
As the old Chinese saying goes, “Since I am here, let me stay and enjoy it”. I started to observe the flowers intently. Some flowers, in their full blossoms, were silky “pomegranate skirts” as it were, going tight and slender in the waist. And the “slender waists” were normally accompanied to the side by a couple of flower buds, which looked just like “red hawthorn fruits” embellishing the hairstyle of a little girl. Why, are you shy little girls, blooming flowers? You were hiding your pretty faces among rustling leaves, but you were not able to conceal all the “pomegranate red” bursting for this “pomegranate month” (an elegant name in the ancient times for the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar). Then in a blinking moment, it was as if the flower buds turned into the pegs of urheens, the “pomegranate skirts” into the suona trumpets, and even the yellow stamens or pistils into the indistinct decorations of some hidden horns. With all these “musical instruments” in the tree, what a loud celebration it was for the arrival of the spring!

我對石榴花可謂真情所至。別人知其美卻忽略其美,或因石榴花不像其他鮮花那么花香濃郁,或因石榴樹是果樹,石榴尚未結出,自然還未實現其最主要的價值。但不管是為著花香,還是為著未來的果實,說到底,都帶著那么點功利。是功利之心,遮掩了對美的賞析。
My passion for pomegranate flowers can well be described as true and genuine. Aware as other people are of their beauty, they tend to turn a blind eye to it, probably because pomegranate flowers are not so scented, or because pomegranate trees are fruit producers and can only prove their principal value when fruits are born. No matter whether for the scent or for the fruit, basically it is utilitarianism that cloaks people’s appreciative eye for the beauty of the flowers.

石榴花雖不馥郁,卻有著別樣美麗,因不以花香媚俗,便不會招惹俗人折枝;石榴花是“紅顏”,不僅未遭“天妒”,且總能頤養天年。
Pomegranate flowers, though not smelling sweet, are special in their beauty. As they never please people by scent, they do not incur picking. They are “beauties”, and are able to grow elegantly and leisurely, free from “the jealousy of gods”.

石榴花,你個小精靈,我可是讀懂了你!
Pomegranate flowers, you adorable little spirits, it’s me who knows you well!

(周領順、Lus Shil 譯)