The Ship of Death

Wooden ship with shabti figures, from the tomb of Mentuhotep, Deir-el-Bahari, c. 2000 BC. Tewnty-one figures are aboard the boat, heading downstream: a lookout stands in the bow, pointing the way. ( from HOW ART MADE THE WORLD, BBC BOOKS, P256 )

Wooden ship with shabti figures, from the tomb of Mentuhotep, Deir-el-Bahari, c. 2000 BC. Tewnty-one figures are aboard the boat, heading downstream: a lookout stands in the bow, pointing the way.
( from HOW ART MADE THE WORLD, BBC BOOKS, P256 )

The Ship of Death 

D. H. Lawrence

I

Now it is autumn and the falling fruit
and the long journey towards oblivion.

The apples falling like great drops of dew
to bruise themselves an exit from themselves.

And it is time to go, to bid farewell
to one’s own self, and find an exit
from the fallen self.

II

Have you built your ship of death, O have you?
O build your ship of death, for you will need it.

The grim frost is at hand, when the apples will fall
thick, almost thundrous, on the hardened earth.

And death is on the air like a smell of ashes!
Ah! can’t you smell it?

And in the bruised body, the frightened soul
finds itself shrinking, wincing from the cold
that blows upon it through the orifices.

III

And can a man his own quietus make
with a bare bodkin?

With daggers, bodkins, bullets, man can make
a bruise or break of exit for his life;
but is that a quietus, O tell me, is it quietus?

Surely not so! for how could murder, even self-murder
ever a quietus make?

IV

O let us talk of quiet that we know,
that we can know, the deep and lovely quiet
of a strong heart at peace!

How can we this, our own quietus, make?

V

Build then the ship of death, for you must take
the longest journey, to oblivion.

And die the death, the long and painful death
that lies between the old self and the new.

Already our bodies are fallen, bruised, badly bruised,
already our souls are oozing through the exit
of the cruel bruise.

Already the dark and endless ocean of the end
is washing in through the breaches of our wounds,
already the flood is upon us.

Oh build your ship of death, your little ark
and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
for the dark flight down oblivion.

VI

Piecemeal the body dies, and the timid soul
has her footing washed away, as the dark flood rises.

We are dying, we are dying, we are all of us dying
and nothing will stay the death-flood rising within us
and soon it will rise on the world, on the outside world.

We are dying, we are dying, piecemeal our bodies are dying
and our strength leaves us,
and our soul cowers naked in the dark rain over the flood,
cowering in the last branches of the tree of our life.

VII

We are dying, we are dying, so all we can do
is now to be willing to die, and to build the ship
of death to carry the soul on the longest journey.

A little ship, with oars and food
and little dishes, and all accoutrements
fitting and ready for the departing soul.

Now launch the small ship, now as the body dies
and life departs, launch out, the fragile soul
in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith
with its store of food and little cooking pans
and change of clothes,
upon the flood’s black waste
upon the waters of the end
upon the sea of death, where still we sail
darkly, for we cannot steer, and have no port.

There is no port, there is nowhere to go
only the deepening black darkening still
blacker upon the soundless, ungurgling flood
darkness at one with darkness, up and down
and sideways utterly dark, so there is no direction any more
and the little ship is there; yet she is gone.
She is not seen, for there is nothing to see her by.
She is gone! gone! and yet
somewhere she is there.
Nowhere!

VIII

And everything is gone, the body is gone
completely under, gone, entirely gone.
The upper darkness is heavy as the lower,
between them the little ship
is gone
she is gone.

It is the end, it is oblivion.

IX

And yet out of eternity a thread
separates itself on the blackness,
a horizontal thread
that fumes a little with pallor upon the dark.

Is it illusion? or does the pallor fume
A little higher?
Ah wait, wait, for there’s the dawn,
the cruel dawn of coming back to life
out of oblivion.

Wait, wait, the little ship
drifting, beneath the deathly ashy grey
of a flood-dawn.

Wait, wait! even so, a flush of yellow
and strangely, O chilled wan soul, a flush of rose.

A flush of rose, and the whole thing starts again.

X

The flood subsides, and the body, like a worn sea-shell
emerges strange and lovely.
And the little ship wings home, faltering and lapsing
on the pink flood,
and the frail soul steps out, into the house again
filling the heart with peace.

Swings the heart renewed with peace
even of oblivion.

Oh build your ship of death, oh build it!
for you will need it.
For the voyage of oblivion awaits you.

(Source: http://www.kalliope.org/en/digt.pl?longdid=lawrence2001061776 )

 

CHINESE TRANSLATION by 吳迪

灵船
1

时值秋天,掉落的水果;
通向湮灭的漫长的征途。

苹果像大颗的露珠一样掉落,
撞破自己,为自己打开一个出口。

该走了,向自我道一声告别,
从掉落的自我中
寻找一个出口。

2

你是否造好了自己的灵船?
哦,造一只灵船吧,因为你需要它。
严霜很快就要降临,苹果密集地、
几乎轰隆轰隆地向变硬的大地掉落。

死亡就像骨灰的气味一样散发在空气里!
啊!你难道没有闻到吗?

在撞破的躯体内,惊恐的灵魂 .
发现自己蜷缩一团,无法抵挡
从洞孔吹入而进的寒气。

3

一个人能否用出鞘的剑
来解除生活的苦难?

用匕道,用长剑.用子弹,
人们能为自己的生命捅开一个出口;
但是,请告诉我,这是否就是解除苦难?

当然不是!一个凶手,一个自杀凶手
怎能解除人生的苦难?

4

哦,让我们谈谈我们所知道的宁静,
我们能够知道的、深切、可爱的宁静
它来自安谧时分的强烈的心灵!
我们怎能为自己解除苦难?

5

那么为自己制造一只灵船吧,
因为你必须走完最漫长的旅程,抵达湮灭。

死亡吧,这漫长而又痛苦的死亡,
摆脱旧的自我,创造新的自我。

我们的躯体早就掉落,撞得百孔千疮,
我们的灵魂正从残忍的撞破之处的洞孔,
向外渗漏。

黑暗、无边无际的死亡之洋
正在涌进我们破裂的缺口,
洪水早已把我们覆盖。

6

哦,造起你的灵船,造起你的避难方舟,
装上食物,装上蛋糕和甜洒,
为了通往湮灭的黑暗的航行。

当黑暗的洪水泛起,躯体一点一点地死去,
胆怯的灵魂也被洗劫了立足之处。

我们正在死亡,正在死亡,我们大家正在死亡,
在我们身上升起的死亡洪水不可阻挡,
它很快就会淹没世界,淹没外部世界。
我们正在死亡,正在死亡,我们的躯体正在
一点一点地死亡,
我们的力量离开了我们,
我们的灵魂在洪水之上的黑雨中赤身裸体地哆嗦。
在我们的生命之树的最后的枝桠上寒颤。

7

我们正在死亡,我们正在死亡,我们现在能做的一切
就是心甘情愿地死亡,制作灵船,
带上灵魂去进行最长的一次航行。
小小的船上,准备了木桨和食物,
还有小小的莱盘.以及为辞别的灵魂
所各好的各种用品。

这就开航,随着躯体的死亡
和生命的离别,开航,
易碎的灵魂呆在易碎的勇猛的小舟上,
贮有食物、小小炒锅
和替换衣服的忠诚的方舟,
在一片荒凉的黑色洪水上,
在毁灭之海上,
在死亡之洋上,我们仍旧
糊涂地航行,因为不能掌舵.也没有港口。

没有港口,没地方可去,
只有加深的黑暗在黑暗中继续加深,
在无声的、不是汩汩作响的、
与黑暗连成一体的黑暗的洪水中,
上上下下、前前后后、十足地黑暗,
因此,再也没有了方向。
小舟在那儿;然而灵魂已经走了。
她看不见了,附近没有任何物体能看见她。
她已经走了!走了!然而,
她呆在那儿的一个地方。

不知晓的地方!

8

一切都走了,躯体也走了,
完全地走下去了,彻底地走了。
上方的黑暗像下方一样沉重,
在两者之间,小船
已经走了,
灵魂已经走了。

9

这是终结,这是湮灭。

9

然而,在黑暗之上,
有一条细线从永恒中分离出来,
一条水平线
带着苍白冒到了黑暗之上。

这是幻象?或是苍白
冒得高了一点?
啊,等吧,等吧,因为黎明来了,
残酷的黎明从湮灭中,
返回到了人生。

等吧,等吧,小船在漂泊.
在死灰色的
洪水般黎明的下方。

等吧,等吧!虽然如此,但黄色的、奇特的、
冷却的、苍白的灵魂突然萌发,
玫瑰突然萌发。

玫瑰突然萌发,一切事物重新开始。

10

洪水平息了,躯体,就像衰旧的海贝,
奇怪地、可爱地浮现出来。
小船急速回家,
在粉红色的洪水上,摇晃,渐浙消失,
易碎的灵魂跳了出来.又回到她自己的家里
用宁静填塞心房。

被湮灭之宁静复活了的心房
摇荡起来。

哦.造起你的灵船。哦,造起来!
因为你将需要它。
因为通往湮灭的航程等着你。

(Source: http://www.douban.com/group/topic/28097354/ )

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