《愛墾網》馬來西亞-台灣墾友於2014年7月23~26日,四天三夜遊走沙巴內陸市鎮丹南(Tenom)。最難忘的,除了陳明發博士、劉富威和張文傑三人的麓夢悠神秘巨石圖騰(Lumuyu Rock Carvings)探險外,要算是丹南—Halogilat鐵路之旅了。最難得的是,這次鐵路遊得到Ken李敬傑、李敬豪兄弟的安排,請到服務沙巴鐵路局34年的蘇少基先生前丹南火車站站長一道同遊。

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Comment by 陳老頭 yesterday

With the banks, the bridge brings to the stream the one and the other expanse of the landscape lying behind them. It brings stream and bank and land into each other’s neighborhood. The bridge gathers the earth as landscape around the stream (Heidegger 1971, 150).

Heidegger’s bridge brings a place and a surrounding landscape into being. In so doing, it also produces space. The bridge as a place does not just connect pre- existing spaces or operate within a pre-existing space – it brings space into being.

In this sense, place comes before space. This is a reversal of the more frequent suggestion that places exist in space and that space comes before place. Heidegger is clearly making a different argument from Merleau-Ponty.

Nevertheless, what unites the two passages is an insistence on the way spaces are brought into being in relation to platial bodies and structures as active agents. Place comes first. One final preliminary point about place before moving on to a discussion of topopoetics. One of the defining qualities of place, across disciplines, has been the way in which places bring things together.

They are seen as syncretic mixtures of elements of multiple domains. Different scholars use different terms to describe this fact. Philosophers following Heidegger write of places as sites of gathering (Casey 1996). The geographer Robert Sack uses the metaphor of a loom to describe places as products of the process of weaving (Sack 2003).

Writers informed by the philoso phy of Gilles Deleuze and Manual Delanda refer to this process as assemblage (DeLanda 2006; Dovey 2010). Things mingle in places and places are constantly being made through gathering/weaving/ assembling and constantly being pulled apart. Among the things that are gathered in place are objects (materialities), mean ings (narratives, stories, memories etc.) and practices.

Philosopher Edward Casey puts this as well as anyone. Minimally, places gather things in their midst– where ‘things’ connote various animate and inanimate entities. Places also gather experiences and histories, even languages and thoughts. Think only of what it means to go back to a place you know, finding it full of memories and expectations, old things and new things, the familiar and the strange, and much more besides. What else is capable of this massively diversified holding action? (Casey 1996, 24)

1 Towards topopoetics

In the remainder of this essay I mobilize some of what has preceded in relation to thinking about poetry. I argue for poems as places (as well as about places) that can be interpreted spatially. The term topopoetics originates from the term topos as developed by Malpas and Casey in their readings of Heidegger and others (Casey 1998; Malpas 2012b).

Topo comes from topos (τόπος), the Greek for ‘place’. This is combined with poetics, which comes from poiesis (ποίησις), the Ancient Greek term for ‘making’. Topopoetics is thus ‘place-making’. The particular lineage I am invoking for topos derives from the philosophy of Aristotle. Importantly, for our purposes, topos appears in both accounts of how the world comes into being and as a figure in rhetoric. In rhetoric a topos is a “particular argumentative form or pattern” from which particular arguments can be derived.1

It is very much like a form in poetry – a sonnet or a villanelle. It has a particular shape. This rhetorical view of topos is linked to the world through the art of memorizing long lists by locating things on a list in particular places. “For just as in the art of remembering, the mere mention of the places instantly makes us recall the things, so these will make us more apt at deductions through looking to these defined premises in order of enumeration.” 2

Comment by 陳老頭 on Friday

In Aristotle’s rhetoric it is important to choose the right kind of topos for the argument at hand, just as it is important to select the right form for a particular poet. It draws our attention to the importance of (among other things) the shape on the page. The richer meaning of topos emerged more fully formed in the writing of Martin Heidegger and has recently been elaborated by the philosopher, Jeff Malpas (Heidegger 1971; Malpas 1999, 2012a).

Here topos is mobilized through the idea of the topological to indicate the primary nature of place for being. To put it bluntly, to be is to be in place – to be here/there. The connection between poetry and the idea of place as the site of being is right there at the outset as Heidegger’s insistence on being as being-in-place originated from an encounter with the poetry of Hölderlin (Malpas 2006; Elden 1999).

Heidegger’s topological thought includes two key concepts – Dasein and dwelling. Dasein means (approximately) ‘being there’. It combines Heidegger’s career- long enquiry into the nature of being with a recognition that being is always placed – that existence is thoroughly intertwined with place.

The way that we make a home in the world is referred to as dwelling. The way in which you are and I am, the manner in which we humans are on the earth, is Buan, dwelling.

To be a human being means to be on the earth as a mortal. It means to dwell (Heidegger 1971, 145). How, exactly, people enact this dwelling (or fail to enact it) becomes a central object for philosophy in Heidegger’s later texts.3 In an important series of late essays Heidegger invokes poetry as a form of dwell ing. He goes so far as to suggest that it is an ideal form of building and dwelling. Poetic creation, which lets us dwell, is a kind of building.

Thus we confront a double demand: for one thing, we are to think of what is called man’s existence by way of the nature of dwelling; for another, we are to think of the nature of poetry as a letting-dwell, as a – perhaps even the – distinctive kind of building. If we search out the nature of poetry according to this viewpoint, then we arrive at the nature of dwelling (Heidegger 1971, 213).

This observation (linking poetry to its root meaning of ‘making’) gets right to the heart of the constitution of topopoetics. Poetry, as Heidegger observes, is a kind of building and thus a particularly important kind of dwelling. This building-as- dwelling, however, is more than the practical stuff of constructing in the correct way – it is, in Heidegger’s view, about the essential character of being-in-the world – being in, and with, place. 

1 For a discussion of topos, see Rapp 2010: 7.1.

2 Aristotle Topics 163b28.32.

3 Heidegger was a member of the Nazi Party, a membership he later denounced. There is no doubt that these ideas of dwelling were easily incorporated into a Nazi ideology of proper authentic (Aryan) dwelling counterposed to an inauthentic (Jewish, gay, Romany) form of (non) dwelling. Following Malpas I do not believe that this necessarily means that his ideas are irrecoverably infected.

An engagement with the philosophical basis of topos adds to our original definition of place (above) as a gathering of things, practices and meanings in a particular location. While place is all of these things this definition fails to underline the basic significance of being placed to being-in-the-world. A topopoetic account is one which recognizes the specificity of the nearness of things in place and at the same time focuses our attention on the way in which the poem is itself a form of building and dwelling.

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 18, 2024 at 6:07am

Poems of place are not simply poems about places, rather they are a species of place with a special relationship to what it is to be in (external) place. Included in this is a recognition that poems (as places) have a material existence as a gathering of words (literally ink) on the page which takes a particular spatial form.

Topopoetics means closing the gap between the material form of the poem (topos in the sense of rhetorics) and the earthly world of place (topos as place). It means attending to the presence of place within the poem. To do this the rest of the essay considers the role of blank space, the tension between shape/form and movement and the relationship between the inside and outside of the poem. 2

Blank Space/Full Space Before, there was nothing, or almost nothing; afterwards, there isn’t much, a few signs, but which are enough for there to be a top and a bottom, a beginning and an end, a right and a left, a recto and a verso (Perec 1997, 10). My interest here is in the combined impact of two meanings of topos – as correct form and as place – on understanding poetic approaches to and renditions of place. The act of building and dwelling that is a poem starts with a blank white space. By writing poems we gather that space and give it form.

True – it already has edges and texture (it is, in Perec’s terms “almost nothing”) but words (as place) bring space into existence. The space becomes margins and gaps between words – even holes within letters. This relationship between poem and place and the space that takes shape around it is one of the defining elements of poetry. Glyn Maxwell, in On Poetry, ruminates on blank space and silence in poetry. Regard the space, the ice plain, the dizzying light. That past, that future.

Already it isn’t nothing. At the very least it’s your enemy, and that’s an awful lot. Poets work with two materials, one’s black and one’s white. Call them sound and silence, life and death, hot and cold, love and loss…. … Call it this and that, whatever it is this time, just don’t make the mistake of thinking the white sheet is nothing. It’s nothing for your novelist, your journalist, your blogger. For those folk it’s a tabular rasa, a giving surface. For the poet it is half of everything. If you don’t know how to use it you are writing prose. If you write poems that you might call free and I might call unpatterned then skillful, intelligent use of the whiteness is all that you’ve got (Maxwell 2012, 11). Poems are patterns made from space and which make space. Even before a word is read you can see a poem’s shape – the black against the white in Maxwell’s terms.

This is one of the most pleasing things about poetry and it serves no function at all in a novel or most other forms of writing. Writing a poem is a little form of place creation that configures blankness. This resonates with Wallace Stevens’ ‘Anecdote of the Jar’: I placed a jar in Tennessee, And round it was, upon a hill. It made the slovenly wilderness Surround that hill. The wilderness rose up to it, And sprawled around, no longer wild. The jar was round upon the ground And tall and of a port in air. It took dominion every where. The jar was gray and bare. It did not give of bird or bush, Like nothing else in Tennessee.

Here the roundness of the jar (roundness is repeated throughout the poem in ‘round’, ‘around’ and ‘surround’) orders the “slovenly wilderness” around it – it orders and regulates a kind of blankness (the ‘almost-nothing’ of wilderness) in a contrived and designed way.

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 16, 2024 at 4:46pm

Culture brings nature into perspective and makes it make sense in much the way the marks of the poem make the blank space make sense. Stevens’ jar performs similar functions to Heidegger’s bridge. The poem does the same thing – bringing space into being.

Silence is the acoustic space in which the poem makes its large echoes. If you want to test this write a single word on a blank sheet of paper and stare at it: note the superior attendance to the word the silence insists upon, and how it soon starts to draw out the word’s ramifying sense-

potential, its etymological story, its strange acoustic signature, its calligraphic mark; you are reading a word as poetry (Paterson 2007, 63). Here, British poet Don Paterson suggests that the self-aware special-ness of the poem is created by its being surrounded by blankness, which he equates with silence. There is a merging of sight and sound – pure blankness and silence. The sense of sound is the only sense which has a unique word for absence.

While silence is the absence of sound there is no word for the absence of smell or taste for instance (we have to resort to terms like ‘tasteless’). Perhaps it is for this reason that blank space is compared to silence. It also reminds us of the origins of poetry in spoken forms. The blankness is not just something to be filled but an active component in

the creation of the poem. The blank page is the friend of the poet allowing an infinite variety of form in the simple sense of shape. When the single word appears on the blank sheet the word-as-poem and the space around it are simultaneously brought into being. In this sense, one does not precede the other.

Paterson describes the act of poetry as an emergence out of silence and space. This is not quite right. This assumes the pre-existence of a blankness and silence within which the words emerge.

Perhaps, instead, the blankness is produced by the creative act. The blankness emerges with the noise. There are similarities between the poet’s relationship to blank space and the painter’s relationship to the canvas. They are clearly not the same thing.

In most painting the canvas is covered. The first thing many traditional painters do is cover a canvas with paint and then start to work on the detail. The canvas is obliterated. The poet, on the other hand, cannot fill up the space he or she is confronted with. The poem needs to play with the space and allow the blankness to be part of the process. Don Paterson puts it this way: Our formal patterning most often supplies a powerful typographical advertisement.

What it advertises most conspicuously is that the poem has not taken up the whole page, and con siders itself somewhat important. The white space around the poem then becomes a potent symbol of the poem’s significant intent (Paterson 2007, 62). The space around the poem once written advertises the poem’s importance as special words. (Con't Below)

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 14, 2024 at 6:58am

The painter may paint blankness, applying white paint perhaps but rarely leaves the canvas untouched. But there are also similarities between the blank space of the painter and the poet. One similarity is suggested by Gilles Deleuze in his meditation on Francis Bacon. Here he suggests that the blank canvas that con fronts the painter is not blank at all but invested with every painting ever done before. In fact, it would be a mistake to think that the painter works on a white and virgin surface. The entire surface is already invested virtually with all kinds of clichés, which the painter will have to break with (Deleuze 2005, 11). The image Deleuze gives us is of a painter confronted with the whole tradition of painting right there on the blank space which is no longer blank. This is the same for a poet who has to face the page/screen with the knowledge of all the poems that have gone before. There are all the ballads and sonnets, the free verse and the sesti nas, Caedmon’s Hymn, the long lines of Whitman, the dashes of Dickenson, iambic pentameter, half rhyme, sprung rhythm, spondees, syllabic experiments, language poetry and limericks – all of these pre-figure the first letter written or typed. The space is not blank but dizzyingly full. Returning to Deleuze: It is a mistake to think that the painter works on a white surface. The figurative belief fol lows from this mistake. If the painter were before a white surface, he – or she – could reproduce on it an external object functioning as a model. The painter has many things in his head, or around him, or in his studio. Now everything he has in his head or around him is already in the canvas, more or less virtually, more or less actually, before he begins his work. They are all present in the canvas as so many images, actual or virtual, so that the painter does not have to cover a blank surface, but rather would have to empty it out, clear it, clean it. (Deleuze 2005, 87).

The space of the poet, like that of the artist’s is a space to fill with what gets defined by the words or a seething endless presence of everything that has been written before. Once there is a poem on the page then an act of dwelling has occurred that brings space and place into being. If we move beyond the blankness of the empty page/ screen then we begin to see all the other ways in which space works for the poem. Take any poem, copy it, and apply a thick black marker to the lines of text. You end up with a black shape and a white shape. Space works as margins, as gaps, as signi f iers of intent when the poet does anything other than left align the lines. Naturally this use of space is most pronounced in forms of experimental poetry in the modern ist tradition: concrete poetry, Mallarme’s radical departures from the left margin, the projective verse of the Black Mountain School or the contemporary experimen tation with ‘erasure’. But space and place do their work too in traditional forms. The popularity of the sonnet is partly attributable to the perfect way it sits on the page, announcing itself as a poem. 3 Stasis and Flux The topos of the poem results from its play of ink and the absence of ink.

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 12, 2024 at 8:44am

Something has to appear for space to emerge. Georges Perec makes this clear: This is how space begins, with words only, signs traced on the blank page. To describe space: to name it, to trace it, like those portolano-makers who saturated the coastlines with the names of harbours, the names of capes, the names of inlets, until in the end the land was only separated from the sea by a continuous ribbon of text (Perec 1997, 13).

Perec’s book, Species of Spaces is a catalogue of spaces and places with chapters devoted to “The Apartment”, “The Street” and “The Town” for instance. The first chapter, though, is “The Page”. The page is immediately equivalent to spaces we may more easily think of as the world beyond the page.

The page and its markings are not removed from, and about, the world – they are of the world. In this chapter Perec outlines the nature of a topopoetics in simple terms. Writing, particularly writing poems, is the production of space and place.

It is a cartographic act that combines senses of home and journey. The process of writing creates coordinates – a top and a bottom, left and right, beginning and end. In amongst the words are pauses and hesitations. There is a poetic topological correspondence between the poem and the place it is about. In Peter Stockwell’s account of ‘cognitive poetics’ a key idea is the notion of f igure/ground – the notion that some things appear to be more important, more fluid, more foregrounded while others remain as background and setting (and thus seem ingly less important) (Stockwell 2002).

The first is figure and the second is ground. The figure is prominent and the ground is not. This occurs most obviously in the way characters are more important than the places they are in in novels. Description is often about ground and action involves figures. Figures often move across a

We make our places by doing them –by beating the bounds rather than drawing a line in the sand. Beyond that place of movement is the white of silence. But even that space is being shaped, if only as the negative image of the poem. 4 Inside and Outside One way of thinking about place is to think of it as a singular thing – specific, par ticular, bounded and separate.

The very idea of place is bound up with uniqueness and a sense of division from what lies beyond it. But places are actually connected into networks and flows – they have an extrovert side (Massey 1997). This paradoxi cal sense of separation and connectedness is noted by Malpas.

One of the features of place is the way in which it establishes relations of inside and out side – relations that are directly tied to the essential connection between place and boundary or limit. To be located is to be within, to be somehow enclosed, but in a way that at the same time opens up, that makes possible.

Already this indicates some of the directions in which any thinking of place must move – toward ideas of opening and closing, of concealing and revealing, or focus and horizon, of finitude and “transcendence,” of limit and possibility, of mutual relationality and coconstitution (Malpas 2012b, 2). This feature of place is one that translates into the topos of the poem. Poems too open and close, conceal and reveal. (Con't  below)

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 11, 2024 at 7:04am

Poems speak to things which lie outside the poem. Clearly the poem has a referential function – like all language. It is about something. But even if we include the things the poem directly names on the inside of the poem, there is yet another set of things that are not directly named but instead gestured towards. In this way the poem opens up to the world. We have seen how one of the features of place is the way in which it gathers things.

A place is a unique assemblage. The things that constitute a place often appear to us as specific to that place even if they have, in fact, travelled from else where. Things form a particular topography of place at the same time as their jour neys link the inside of a place to elsewhere. Poetry is one way in which we stop and wonder at the specificity of the way things appear to us in place.

Poetry involves being attentive to things and the way I which they are gathered. Poetry is an ‘encounter with the world’. No matter the changes in Heidegger’s philosophical vocabulary, a key point around which his thinking constantly turns is the idea that thinking arises, and can only arise, out of our original encounter with the world – an encounter that is always singular and situated, in which we encounter ourselves as well as the world, and in which what first appears is not something abstract or fragmented, but rather the things themselves, as things, in their con crete unity (Malpas 2012b, 14).

This insistence on the specificity of ‘things themselves’ is one way we can think about poetic attention. A poetic concern ground that appears relatively static. This movement, in a poem, is expressed with direction words such as “over” or “in” or “towards”. Topopoetics challenges some of the assumptions of the figure/ground equation. As place is most often equated with ground it tends to have a degree of deadness associated with it. It seems less important.

Topopoetics draws our attention to the opposite – the active presence of place in the poem. Another key term in cognitive poetics is “image schema” which refers to “loca tive expressions of place” (Stockwell 2002, 16). Stockwell gives the examples of “JOURNEY, CONTAINER, CONDUIT, UP/DOWN, FRONT/BACK, OVER/ UNDER, INTO/OUT OF”. Terms of mobility catch our attention and urge us to continue reading – static elements are frankly boring and we quickly forget them. The difference between the moving elements and static elements produces literary and cognitive effects. But even before any particular word is written or read we have the poem – the lines that form a shape in space. As we read left to right and top to bottom against the white space a figure forms over ground. A passage is enacted. Stuff happens.

Poems are made out of arrangements of type and blank space – figure and ground in a physical, pre-verbal sense. I am not sure what the cognitive content of this patterning is but it is surely important to poetry – even before the specifics of actual words and their meanings. This is the start of the geography of the poem. There are two spatial metaphors at work in the basic language of poetry that point towards the way a poem is an act of dwelling: these are the words ‘stanza’ and ‘verse’.

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 9, 2024 at 7:53pm

(Con't) Stanza means ‘room’, ‘station’ or ‘stopping place’ and refers to blocks of black separated by white on the page. These are rooms we pass between surrounded by outside. Stanzas found their way into written poetry through the act of memoriz ing verse. Rooms, or stopping places, are memorized and filled with words that would be activated by an imagined walk through the rooms. While stanzas are clearly places to stop – they are also clearly linked by movement. Movement also occurs within the stanzas as we follow the lines of text.

The word ‘verse’ comes from the practice of tilling the soil – agriculture – the root of ‘culture’. It is rooted in the Latin versus, meaning a ‘furrow’ or a ‘turning of the plow’. As the farmer (or farm worker) tills the soil they come to an edge, turn around, then make their way back, pacing out the day. Verse can thus be found in ‘reverse’. These two ideas – stanza – as a block of bounded space and verse as an action – a form of practice that brings those blocks alive and reminds us that they are only there because of move ment – these two ideas describe something of the geography of the poem as the interplay of fixity and flux of being and becoming.

Poetry is often referred to as freezing time. In fact, many kinds of representation are said to freeze time (and thus, in some circles, representation has become deeply suspect) (Anderson and Harrison 2010). In poetry’s case, this could not be further from the truth. Poetry, to me, is a mobile form related to walking and, indeed, ploughing and reversing. This sense of mobile journeying in the poem is part of the topological understanding of the poem on the page.

Perec knew this: I write: I inhabit my sheet of paper, I invest it, I travel across it, I incite blanks, spaces (jumps in the meaning, discontinuities, transitions, changes of key) (Perec 1997, 3) with place starts from a recognition of an original encounter which is “singular and situated”. The more the poem can reflect this situated singularity the more faithful it will be to the place that lies beyond it. But it would be wrong to think of the ‘concrete unity’ of place as a pure, bounded entity with no relation to a world (even an abstract world) beyond it. Places always point to a world beyond them, and so do poems.


One way in which the place of the poem opens up to its outside is through metaphor. Metaphor is another component of poetics that has a spatial root in travel. Metaphor comes from the Greek metaphorá (μεταφορά ) for ‘transfer’ or ‘carryover’.

In modern Athens, the vehicles of mass transportation are called metaphorai. To go to work or come home, one takes a “metaphor” – a bus or a train. Stories could also take this noble name: every day, they traverse and organize places; they select and link them together; they make sentences and itineraries out of them. They are spatial trajectories (de Certeau 1984, 115).

Metaphors perform two operations simultaneously – they say a equals band, at the same time, a does not equal b. Just saying a is the same as b is not metaphorical.

For a metaphor to be a metaphor a has to also be different from b. The more different they are the more powerful the metaphor. This is true as long a and b are not so different that they are not, in fact, similar in any way.

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 8, 2024 at 8:28pm

(con't from above)Metaphors have a spatial logic, they connect a thing which is present in the poem to something which is absent outside of it. In doing this the absent thing becomes present. The inside is connected to the outside. Using metaphor means seeing one thing as another – a form of understanding that is “fundamentally spatial in organization” (Zwicky 2003, § 3). This spatiality is one which is not bounded and singular but, instead, one which makes a connection, or, as Jan Zwicky puts it. “a linguistic
short-circuit.”

Non-metaphorical ways of speaking conduct meaning, in insulated carriers, to certain ends and purposes. Metaphors shave off the insulation and meaning arcs across the gap (Zwicky 2003, § 68).
The place which is a poem has both the meanings which lie within the boundaries marked by the presence of type, and the meanings that this type connects to. The text of the poem is both a neat, closed entity and a set of links to what lies beyond.

It is in this sense that the metaphor formulas a=b and a≠b simultaneously recognizes the inherent qualities of what lies within the poem and the connections to what lies without.

A metaphor can appear to be a gesture of healing – it pulls a stitch through the rift that our  capacity for language opens between us and the world. A metaphor is an explicit refusal of the idea that the distinctness of things is their fundamental ontological characteristic.

But their distinctness is one of their most fundamental ontological characteristics (the other being their interpenetration and connectedness). In this sense, a metaphor heals nothing – there is nothing to be healed (Zwicky 2003, § 59).

Metaphor works on the dual capacity to recognize the concrete unity of the assemblage of things that lies before us and to insist on their connectedness to a world beyond. Things (and the assemblages of things which are places) are both distinct (in that there is no other assemblage exactly like this one) and connected (things are always interconnected). Metaphor allows us to be near to things, in the way both a poet and a phenomenologist insist on, and to recognize a constitutive outside. This outside is also a world of things, practices and meanings that can be drawn upon to recognize the specificity of ‘here’.

5 Conclusion

In this essay I have developed a basis for topopoetics – a way of reading poetry that uses spatial thinking to interpret the work a poem does. This is distinct from an analysis of poems about place – or the poetics of sense of place. While it is clear than many poets evoke place in their poetry and that geography may be one of the few constants in the history of English language poetry, it is also the case that poems are kinds of places and they enact a form of dwelling. Indeed, it was poetry that
inspired much of Heidegger’s thinking about place and dwelling. Topopoetics insists on the active nature of spatial thinking in the process of interpretation. Place and space are not just setting or subject but are, rather, woven into the fabric of poetic making itself. I have made a start to outlining topopoetics through reference to the role of blank space, stasis and flux and inside and outside in order to show how spatiality is implicated in the process of meaning making. This, in turn, becomes a tool in relating the poem to the places the poem is about.


Towards Topopoetics: Space, Place and the Poem,Tim Cresswell,© Springer International Publishing AG 2017 B.B. Janz (ed.), Place, Space and Hermeneutics, Contributions to Hermeneutics 5, Pg.319-331,See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net

Comment by 陳老頭 on July 5, 2024 at 6:49am

[椴樹]

椴樹的芳香仿佛是一種只有付出勞而無當的代價才能得到的報償。

[汽油味]

猶如風在逐漸增大,樓下駛過一輛汽車,我聽之異常高興。我問道了汽油味。善於挑剔的人會覺得,空氣中飄蕩著汽油味,是一大遺憾(他們是一些講究實際的人,在他們看來,這氣味把鄉村的空氣搞糟了)。另有一些思想家,也是一些講究實際的人。當然他們有他們自己的方式,他們注重事實,認為如果人類的眼睛能看到更多的色彩,鼻孔能辨別更多的香味,那麼人類就會更加幸福,就將富有更濃的詩意,這其實不過等於說,不穿僧袍,換上豪華套裝,生活就會更加美麗,這不過是將天真無知套上哲學外衣而已。對於我來說,這汽油味卻是另一回事(與此相仿,樟腦和香根草,其香型本身並不好聞,卻使我激動,它喚起我對到達巴爾貝克的當天那湛藍大海的回憶)。在我去古維爾的拉埃斯聖約翰教堂的日子裡,這氣味和著機器噴冒的黑煙,曾多少次消散於蒼白的藍天;多少個夏日的午後,阿爾貝蒂娜畫畫,是它隨我出門溜達。現在我身臥暗室,這氣味又在在身邊吹開了矢車菊、麗春花和車軸草。它如田野的芬芳,使我陶醉;它不像山楂樹前的馥香,受其濃烈成分的牽制,固定在山楂樹籬前的范圍內,不能向遠處飄發。它是四處飄揚的芳香,大路聞之奔馳,土地聞之改樣,宮殿紛紛跑來迎客,天空大放晴朗;它使力量倍增,它是動力騰飛的象征……

僅僅是過去的某個時刻嗎?也許還遠遠不止。某個東西,它同時為過去和現在所共有,比過去和現在都本質得多。在我生命到歷程中,現實曾多少次使我失望,因為在我感知它到時候,我的想像力,這唯一使我得以享用美的手段無法與之適應。我們只能呢個想像不在眼前的事物,這是一條不可回避的法則。而現在,這條嚴峻的法則因為自然使出的一個絕招而失去和中止了它的效力。這個絕招使某種感覺——餐廳或鐵鎚敲打的聲音、相同的書名等等——同時在過去和現在發出誘人的光彩。它既使我的想像力領略到這種感覺,又使我的感官因為聲音,因為布料的接觸等等而產生確實的震動,為想像的夢幻補充了它們通常所缺少的東西,存在的意識,而且,幸虧有這一手,使我的生命在瞬息之間能夠取得、分離出和固定它從未體會的東西:一段出於純淨狀態的時光。……此時復蘇的那個生命只從事物的本質汲取養料,也唯有在事物的本質中他才能獲得自己的養分、他的歡樂。他在現時的觀察中日趨衰弱,現時的感官不可能為他提供本質;他在對過去的思考中日趨衰弱,理智擠干了這個過去的水分;他在未來的期待中日趨衰弱,主觀意願用現在和過去的片段拼湊成這個未來,它還抽去其中部分真實,只保留其中符合功利主義的結局、狹隘的認的結局,意願為它們指定的結局。然而,通常隱蔽的和永遠存在的事物本質上一旦獲釋,我們真正的我,有時仿佛久已死亡實際上卻並非全然死去的我,在收受到為他奉獻的絕世養料時,蘇醒、活力漸增,曾經聽到過的某個聲音或者聞到過的一股氣味立即會被重新聽到或聞到,既存在於現在,又存在於過去,現實而非現時,理想而不抽象。逾越時間序列的一分鐘為了使我們感覺到這一分鐘,在我們身上重新鑄就越出時間序列的人。而這個人,我們知道他對自己的歡樂是有信心的,即使一塊馬德萊娜點心的普普通通的滋味邏輯上似乎並不包含著這種歡樂的全部理由,我們知道「死亡」這個詞對他是沒有意義的;既然已處於時間之外,前途中又有什麼能使他感到害怕呢?

(摘自:《追憶似水年華》[法語:À la recherche du temps perdu,英语:In Search of Lost Time: The Prisoner and the Fugitive],[法国]馬塞爾·普魯斯特 [Marcel Proust ,1871年—1922年] 的作品,出版時間:1913–1927,共7卷)

愛墾網 是文化創意人的窩;自2009年7月以來,一直在挺文化創意人和他們的創作、珍藏。As home to the cultural creative community, iconada.tv supports creators since July, 2009.

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