IVE專欄|替貓取名字

插畫:“黑貓字母”,© NANO HERO

 

T. S. Eliot 是美國非常重要的一位詩人暨文學家,也是諾貝爾文學獎的得主之一。他的著作《老負鼠的貓經》(英語:Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats) 是一部有關貓心理學和社會學的詩集,其後被改編為世界知名經典音樂劇《貓》。

 

《Old Possum's BOOK OF Practical Cats》(老負鼠的貓經),
T. S. Eliot, 1939

 

很巧地,這位大師也是天秤座的,不知道為什麼這麼多我個人非常喜愛的作家都是這個星座的,他的文字駕馭優美平衡不失嘲諷幽默,身為貓奴的朋友們,不可不知這位了不起的詩人,還有那些我們為貓所取的名字,在大師的世界當中,是如此的重要與神秘。 ■

 

《Cats》(貓) 音樂劇海報

 


 

illustration by NANO HERO

 

THE NAMING OF CATS
替貓取名字

作者 ╱ T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
譯者 ╱ 胡至宜

替貓取名字是個艱難的任務,
這並非只是某一種假日休閒遊戲;
你或許以為我像帽子商人般瘋狂,
當我一開始告訴你,
一隻貓必須要有三個不同的名字。

 

illustration by @brwnpaperbag

 

第一個,是家人平日在用的名字,
好比說,
彼得,奧古斯都,阿朗索,或是詹姆仕,
好比說,
維克特或是強納生,喬治或是比爾貝利 --
就是那些我們每天都會聽到的名字。

 

illustration by @brwnpaperbag

 

也有那些你覺得聽起來比較甜美的時髦名字,
紳士的名字,淑女的名字,
好比說,
柏拉圖,阿瑪迪斯,伊拉克特拉,狄蜜特 --
當然我們每天也都聽到這些名字。

(注 ╱ 伊拉克特拉:神話人物。狄蜜特:農業女神。)

 

illustration by @brwnpaperbag

 

但是我要告訴你,
一隻貓需要一個獨特的名字,
有一個獨特的名字,就能得到更多尊嚴,
要不然牠如何保持尾巴的挺直,
如何張狂牠的鬍鬚,
又如何寶貝牠的自尊心呢?

 

illustration by @brwnpaperbag

 

有關這類的名字,我可以給你一些法定名單,
好比說,
蒙克史崔普,誇梭,或是柯瑞柯派,
好比說,
砲彈月魔,或甚至是果凍藍姆 --
那些只會專屬於一隻貓的名字。

 

illustration by @brwnpaperbag

 

仍有一個名字遠在這一切想像之外,
那是一個你永遠也猜不到的名字,
一個人類研究史上永遠無法發現的名字 --
只有那隻貓自己知道,而且牠決不會承認。

 

illustration by Chie Katayama

 

每當你注意到一隻正在沉思的貓,
我告訴你,那個原因都是一樣的,
牠的心智陷入了專注痴迷的冥想當中,
牠想啊,想啊,想啊,想著牠的名字。
牠那無法表達所表達出的
無以名狀的
深邃又不可思議的獨一無二的名字。

 

illustration by Chie Katayama

 


 

THE NAMING OF CATS

by T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) 

 

 

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,

It isn't just one of your holiday games;

You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter

When I tell you,

a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES. 

 

First of all,

there's the name that the family use daily,

Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,

Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--

All of them sensible everyday names.

 

There are fancier names

if you think they sound sweeter, 

Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:

Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--

But all of them sensible everyday names.

 

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,

A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,

Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,

Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,

Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,

Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-

Names that never belong to more than one cat.

 

But above and beyond

there's still one name left over, 

And that is the name that you never will guess;

The name that no human research can discover--

But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS,

and will never confess. 

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,

The reason, I tell you, is always the same:

His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation

Of the thought, of the thought,

of the thought of his name: 

His ineffable effable

Effanineffable

Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

 

illustration by NANO HERO
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