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Window Curtains by Yang Jiang ~ 杨绛 《窗帘》 with English Translations


杨绛 《窗帘》





隐约模糊中,才容许你做梦和想象。距离增添了神秘。看不见边际,变为没边没际的遥远与辽阔。云雾中的山水,暗夜的星辰,希望中的未来,高超的理想,仰慕的名人,心许的“相知”,——隔着窗帘,惝怳迷离,可以产生无限美妙的想象。如果你嫌恶窗帘的间隔,冒冒失失闯进门、闯到窗帘后面去看个究竟,赤裸裸的真实只怕并不经看。像丁尼生(Tennyson)诗里的“夏洛特女郎”(The Lady of Shalott),看厌了镜中反映的世界,三步跑到窗前,望一望真实世界。她的镜子立即破裂成两半,她毁灭了以前快乐而无知的自己。





Window Curtains
Yang Jiang

People are not afraid of crowding. Though shoulder to shoulder and close upon each other’s heels, people don’t jam together. Like peas in a pod, each one has his own space; like dusty clouds dancing in the sun, each has his own sphere. However bustling a place is, families have nothing to do with each other although their windows are face to face. A curtain on a window, when that thin layer is drawn down, you can easily put the other family into a distance of ten thousand li.

Barriers are not disconnections. A curtain doesn’t block up the window; it only increases the distance between the inside and the outside—a deceiving, tempting distance. The curtain doesn’t cover up the window either, only obscuring it—what an enticing obscurity! Thus a window fully open doesn’t attract attention, whereas a curtain with a fluttering corner arouses curiosity and conjecture, boundlessly tantalizing.

Nakedness may show innocence and simplicity. However, if we turn the innocence and simplicity into the material and color of a curtain, the result is a clean, white curtain, pleated with soft gauze, flapping in the breeze, much more charming than multicolored stuff. If you really want to be naked, you ought to have the perfect bodies of the Greek deities and the pure souls of angels. Bacon said, “Nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as body.” When they left the Garden of Eden, humankind understood the meaning of these words.

Therefore naked with truth should be somewhat covered. The blazing sunlight, which ruthlessly beats down on everything in the world, do not leave shadows that allow one to be mystified, to dream and to hope. Without light clouds and thin hazes sieving the sunshine and creating a colorful glow, how boring the sky would be!

Only in dimness and obscurity can one dream and give play to the imaginations. Distance increases mystery. We are lost in a boundless remoteness, calling to mind mountains and rivers obscured in mist and clouds, stars on a dark night, the future in our hopes, a transcendental ideal, celebrities worshipped from afar, and a “friend” in one’s wishful thinking. Similarly, the barrier of a window curtain obscures and mystifies, including endless speculation. Whereas if you burst through the barrier and invade the area behind the curtain, I am afraid the naked truth in there may not be an uplifting sight. The Lady of Shalott in Tennyson’s poem is fed up with the world in the mirror, so in three steps she rushes to the window to see the real world. At once her mirror cracks from side to side, and she has forever lost her happy and innocent self.

See, there’s a curtain on that window don’t go and peep. Better hang one out yourself, be it colorful or plain. If you don’t want to stoop to hanging out curtains and can’t be bothered with the trouble, feel free to leave your window wide open. But to respect other people’s window curtains.

未经允许不得转载:STUDY IN CHINA GLOBAL (SCG) » Window Curtains by Yang Jiang ~ 杨绛 《窗帘》 with English Translations
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