Skogsrå (Wood Nymph)

Swedish Forest

FOR MARIT LINDBERG

Jan-Litt worked as a charcoal-burner
(“Litt” because he was a little man).
He was used to boredom: he watched coal for a living,
was the enemy of every excess fire.
Numb with tedium, he had taken time out
for nineteenth-century daydreams,
for a swig of corn-brandy.
Like a fantasy, out of green forest haze,
the wood nymph slid,
dressed in the body of a woman wearing “fine long hair”,
chill eyes wide with another species’ feeling.
In this infinity of Swedish trees,
Jan-Litt offered her the bottle —
was he stunned into hospitality
or did he rise in the presence of this stark,
naked creature inexplicably to the occasion?
The wood nymph took the bottle from his hand
drank, then bit through the glass with her mouth:
the alcoholic shock
(or was it the taste of sap-blood?)
stung her into dropping it.
As she turned away, Jan-Litt saw
the perfect circle of bark midway down her back
and so realized this was no human being.
The brandy bottle with its broken neck survives to this day,
a jagged, incomparable heirloom
while Jan-Litt’s vision blazes

Triple Bare

Earth from the Moon

i.

Each time I clear everything out of a room
down to the last lost pencil
and dust it,
clean it,
scrub the floor,
air it,
burn incense in its oneliness and wait,
something outspoken always loudly urges through me:
Why not leave yourself the same way?

ii.

When she asks him to sing her a song,
all, all he can do for the moment
is fiddle with his cigarette lighter.
Ignited later
in an empty-resonant cement bath-house,
his own sudden voice comes over him clear out of the walls
to the drip-plink of slow ceiling water —
a true vocal nudity’s sky-clad flare.

iii.

Perfect without clothes,
a small boy embarrasses the length of Lyttleton Avenue
just
by standing next to nothing in the sun
and by dancing
over asphalt on tall-toed feet
a whole human scale.

《蛙文》/ Frogscript 15 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:冧樹》

郭少鳳著

「你覺得我哋可唔可以同樹木溝通?」呢個係當年喺嘉道理農場見工時被問到嘅一個問題。為咗想係農場工作,即時答可以。當時諗起有一年暑假,去北京學普通話一個月,北京嘅夏天真係好熱。嗰日中午嘅温度應該接近 40 度,行喺一條石屎街道上,兩旁分別種咗一排樹,猛烈嘅陽光毫不留情直曬喺身上。我當然唔想曬傷皮膚,變成人乾,於是擔遮防曬,當時輕輕嘆咗一聲:「啲樹木日日咁曬,一定好辛苦」,同理心出現了,將自己代入樹木身分,溝通就變得簡單得多。

其實我哋可以透過觀察樹木,例如啲樹葉會唔會突然變得太乾、太皺、太黃,估計樹木係咪唔舒服,身體有冇出現毛病,諸如此類…我個人認為凡係有生命嘅都可以溝通,樹木雖然冇嘴巴,唔會直接講出或表達感情,但我哋可以透過細心觀察,逐漸了解佢哋,繼而產生感情。

今年香港嚟咗一個超強颱風 – 山竹喺 2018 年  9月 1 6日橫掃香港,對香港帶來廣泛嘅破壞,相信大家都見識到佢嘅威力。雖然山竹並冇奪取香港人嘅性命,但卻摧毀了千千萬萬樖樹,係呀,你冇睇錯,係千千萬萬,據估計,山竹至少造成 6 萬樖冧樹。記得當日喺山竹登陸消散後,我哋走係街上睇睇情況,見到成地都舖滿斷枝、冧樹,滿目蒼然。真係好傷心,呢啲樹木曾經俾過我哋好多護蔭,為我哋擋過唔少太陽,更營造一個美麗舒適嘅居住環境,根本就係我哋生活嘅一部分。

山竹過後,出現一個新詞彙 – 盆栽樹。冧樹嘅情景,令香港人意識到我哋一貫嘅種樹方法唔夠好。原來香港好多時係盆栽式種樹,大樹下並冇足夠嘅泥土俾大樹樹根生長。冇健康嘅樹根支撐,結果山竹一嚟到,啲樹就一樖樖咁被吹倒,見到佢哋一餅餅咁連根拔起,真係覺得對佢哋唔住。好彩有一位樹木教授出聲,叫市民寄啲冧樹嘅樹根相片俾佢,等佢研究可以點樣幫啲樹木。

當然今次倒下嘅大樹唔單止係盆栽樹,連一啲古樹、大樹都未能避過山竹嘅蹂躙。印象最深刻嘅係大埔墟内有一樖大樟樹倒塌,連旁邊嘅電話亭都遭殃,被倒下嘅大樹壓毁。當經過大樟樹嘅殘骸時,樟樹嘅香味四溢,吸引咗唔少人執樹枝返屋企,最攪笑係見到一個婆婆用菜刀切大樟樹嘅樹幹,覺得她有小小可愛呢。

樟木其實係好東西,如果得到適當嘅處理,讓佢自然風乾,更能驅蟲防臭,好適合做傢俬丶木製品,以前大富人家都鐘意用樟樹櫳做嫁妝以作嫁女之用。我而家工作嘅地方都有一樖樟樹被山竹吹倒,有心嘅部門將樟樹樹枝風乾處理,造咗一百個杯墊分發給同事。山竹過後,網上亦出現好多資料,教人如何處理樹幹做櫈,大家都務求唔使將冧樹全部送去堆田區,保留一份價值。

其實山竹今次雖然對香港造成咁多嘅破壞,但同時亦令香港人將樹木再次連結一起,希望從此可以俾我哋更加了解到我哋同大自然間不可分割嘅關係。

New Tai Lam Fallen Tree_November 2018

Continue reading “《蛙文》/ Frogscript 15 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok”

The Human Scale • Swimsuite

2018-09-20 Carrs Road Clouds 3

Together we swam in the clear, warm water, then lay in the sun innocently naked. Sometimes we sat together in a circle and made forms in the sand with our bodies. Then we would go around the circle lying down in the impressions others had made — to feel what it was like to be them, living within the confines and shapes of their bodies.

— Daran Kravanh and Bree Lafreniere, Music through the Dark

i.

He’d never lived until he’d dived
through the shape-shifting surface of the surf,
his skinny lungs crammed to the ribs with back-up air.
Seams of foam rose up in the standing waves,
seething with life signs, and seaweed
added adventure’s texture, a garland at sea
for all those who dare the joyous-treacherous dogma of the brine:
you are who you survive.

ii.

I’m enamoured of a contour made by the mind
when it comes to an understanding.

A woman with query in her voice
is gratefully enlightened by an answer
from her friend:
O, she says,
and her O riddles its way through extravagant intonation,
rising steeply — in imitation of strong doubts —
then falling buoyant with relief
back to clarity’s sanded floor.
I thought:
She might have been standing in ocean
up to her armpits, first elevated by a transit wave
against gravity, before allowing herself to be dropped

thrilled and informed in a fresh calm’s certified wake.

iii.

Although yellow-skinned in the deep brown water,
I am ferocious against the current’s brute shove.
Bellbirds’ irregular sonar
sparkles, acoustic counterpart
to the sun’s shifting highlights
on the ripples, on the leaves
of the nude river gums.
The dark side of my mind
warns of drowning; the wrong side
loves the moment: water — skin —
solitude — risk —
invention.

iv.

After slow and steady laps in the public pool
she makes her way back to the toilet block,
head still swimming with the twist
and tug of the stroke. Water has a way
of stirring thought — it seems to unlock
from the nerves a pleasant fluency
of idea-talk. Standing in her bathers
under the shower’s introspective shower,
gradually she comes to realize something,
drawing clarity abstractly
from luscious inwardness:
beside her stand three naked men,
expressions of mock shock-horror
splashed vividly on their faces.
With absent-minded candour,
not trying to be witty,
she announces at once to the gob-smacked trio:

Wrong shower, boys?

v.

Julius sees her cross the lake —
swimmer of tall shadows . . .

It is not for conquest that he waits:
stroke by stroke he contemplates
into the evening air.

Less self-enclosed in his domain,
he sees himself self-disobey,
breaststroking out to meet her from his shape.