Love of Lines: Notes for an Apprentice Shingler
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Love of Lines: Notes for an Apprentice1 Shingler

Sara London

The injuries are small ones,
the blade(叶片,刀片) slips from the cedar3(雪松)
slat to the kneeling knee,
or the plane slides
off the shingle2's edge
and shaves the thumb knuckle4(关节) .
Splinters(碎片) are surprisingly
rare, but when the hands
are cold, the hammer glances
the galvanized(镀锌的,电镀的) nail
and slams the horny(角状的) one,
pinching(箍紧,收缩) and blistering
the pellicle(薄膜,薄皮) . This
is the worst.

What we labor5 over,
a swayback(背部下凹的) beach house,
rests on a rheumatic(风湿病的) wharf,
our task to pluck
the worn wood scales,
add new bridgework, a shield
of George Washington teeth,
clamped against adversity(逆境,不幸) .
We begin with the shingle(墙面板,木瓦) iron
slipping it along the virgin
backside of loose dentures(假牙) ,
and pull so shakes fly off
in our faces, crack and splinter,
the sharp dry notes narrating
fifteen-plus years of weather.
Like dog years, this is ancient
beyond thinning and brittleness6.
Where we find rot, we chisel7(雕,刻) out
the grainy porridge(粥,糊) and fill
the gap with new pine,
thick wedges(楔形) for warmth.

Wood chips in our eyes
make us cry a little,
but mostly we keep right on
through the small disasters
to batten down before nightfall,
our eye on the suture—
horizon stitching(缝合,固定) low
grey sky to our dark Atlantic.
Tar8 paper (or a new slick
synthetic stock that doesn't rip
and bears a name too New Age
for song) is whack-stapled
to weary ship-salvage boards,
top layer always over bottom
to keep rain water from seeping
back to wood. Then the sweet
new cedar shields we extract
from fresh bundles and fit,
side flush to side
and hammer in twice, milk
oozing from flat four-penny
heads, the soft white fur
of mold, like premature9 infant
fuzz, rising from wet wood
into the crisp autumn
turn of air.

Chalk lines are best
when workers hold each end,
one reaching to the center
to snap, the blue powder
mapping a million points
along a line so straight
the day's doubts are deleted
in its sure direction.
But a course of shingles
followed by another and another
parading up the house—these
hands saluting10, soles of tree,
puerile(幼稚的,天真的) soldiers sweet
as puberty(青春期,开花期) , pressed side to side
so no one stands taller,
though some are fatter,
"hippos," and some are "weasel"-
thin, their bodies set
like brickwork so no two seams
meet—all the bathos of the week
is buried here.          Lines
link lines to what we love
in these long hours, the wood
wine of it, the weighted plunge(投入,跳进)
and smack11 of hammer and nail,
the hard grip, hammer handle
to palm, the knock knock knock
answering back from neighboring
houses and street, wood and nail
and wood, even the smeared12(弄脏的) blood
marking the rough facade13.
We swing and drum the day.

                    *

And when we finish, the lines,
stacks of horizons, paths to
an exacting14 place, meeting at trim
and window, foundation and roof,
are what we've made. Lines
where cold, rain, wind,
sleet, sun and snow end. Lines
we step across the street
to judge, and when they're fine
they're fine, and when they fail
they haunt. Order is easy to
plan for, hard to achieve. This
is what houses are about—
planes that meet along degrees
we trust. Lines that say,
The weather is up to you.

We unfasten our nail aprons(围裙,皮圈)
as the sun sends its light
into China's day. Toss
into the toolbox tape measure,
plane and knife,
hammer, chalkline and coping
saw, and head home to husband
or girlfriend or dog, or house—
house, bless it, though it
doesn't save us from ourselves.
And when we sleep, it is
the sleep of lines well made,
or lines that are not well,
marginally mis-measured,
but in our dreams slanting(倾斜的)
earthward or rising toward
some inevitable15 convergence,
the confusion of infinite touch,#p#分页标题#e#
and so we return like some
floating angel to the house
and remove by glance alone,
five fresh courses
to correct our quarter-inch mistake.

When we wake, the error
dissolves into morning,
compulsion(强迫,强制) keeling into
the undefined plane of day
and its incorrigible16(不可救药的,积习难改的) knots.
In a year the high wheat
of the wood will fade to blue-grey,
the seams will open a crack,
for the wood has dried and shrunk.
The smell, once fecund17(肥沃的,多产的) as forests,
will be salted, and somewhere else
staging assembled, a house
stripped, a dog amused
at what trouble humans go to,
dangling(悬挂的,摇摆的) their booted feet
at the face of a house
as the hammers hound the quiet
of day, as the afternoon arcs
around our deep imperfections,
and we measure with expectation
another course, another line.



点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 apprentice 0vFzq     
n.学徒,徒弟
参考例句:
  • My son is an apprentice in a furniture maker's workshop.我的儿子在一家家具厂做学徒。
  • The apprentice is not yet out of his time.这徒工还没有出徒。
2 shingle 8yKwr     
n.木瓦板;小招牌(尤指医生或律师挂的营业招牌);v.用木瓦板盖(屋顶);把(女子头发)剪短
参考例句:
  • He scraped away the dirt,and exposed a pine shingle.他刨去泥土,下面露出一块松木瓦块。
  • He hung out his grandfather's shingle.他挂出了祖父的行医招牌。
3 cedar 3rYz9     
n.雪松,香柏(木)
参考例句:
  • The cedar was about five feet high and very shapely.那棵雪松约有五尺高,风姿优美。
  • She struck the snow from the branches of an old cedar with gray lichen.她把长有灰色地衣的老雪松树枝上的雪打了下来。
4 knuckle r9Qzw     
n.指节;vi.开始努力工作;屈服,认输
参考例句:
  • They refused to knuckle under to any pressure.他们拒不屈从任何压力。
  • You'll really have to knuckle down if you want to pass the examination.如果想通过考试,你确实应专心学习。
5 labor P9Tzs     
n.劳动,努力,工作,劳工;分娩;vi.劳动,努力,苦干;vt.详细分析;麻烦
参考例句:
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
6 brittleness 06e59bbb130abea85eccf64f8eea0bdd     
n.脆性,脆度,脆弱性
参考例句:
  • Brittleness is often a result of alloying. 脆性往往是合金化的一种结果。 来自辞典例句
  • The mechanism of brittleness of the alloy has been discussed. 对硬质含金脆性机理进行了探讨。 来自互联网
7 chisel mr8zU     
n.凿子;v.用凿子刻,雕,凿
参考例句:
  • This chisel is useful for getting into awkward spaces.这凿子在要伸入到犄角儿里时十分有用。
  • Camille used a hammer and chisel to carve out a figure from the marble.卡米尔用锤子和凿子将大理石雕刻出一个人像。
8 tar 1qOwD     
n.柏油,焦油;vt.涂或浇柏油/焦油于
参考例句:
  • The roof was covered with tar.屋顶涂抹了一层沥青。
  • We use tar to make roads.我们用沥青铺路。
9 premature FPfxV     
adj.比预期时间早的;不成熟的,仓促的
参考例句:
  • It is yet premature to predict the possible outcome of the dialogue.预言这次对话可能有什么结果为时尚早。
  • The premature baby is doing well.那个早产的婴儿很健康。
10 saluting 2161687306b8f25bfcd37731907dd5eb     
v.欢迎,致敬( salute的现在分词 );赞扬,赞颂
参考例句:
  • 'Thank you kindly, sir,' replied Long John, again saluting. “万分感谢,先生。”高个子约翰说着又行了个礼。 来自英汉文学 - 金银岛
  • He approached the young woman and, without saluting, began at once to converse with her. 他走近那年青女郎,马上就和她攀谈起来了,连招呼都不打。 来自辞典例句
11 smack XEqzV     
vt.拍,打,掴;咂嘴;vi.含有…意味;n.拍
参考例句:
  • She gave him a smack on the face.她打了他一个嘴巴。
  • I gave the fly a smack with the magazine.我用杂志拍了一下苍蝇。
12 smeared c767e97773b70cc726f08526efd20e83     
弄脏; 玷污; 涂抹; 擦上
参考例句:
  • The children had smeared mud on the walls. 那几个孩子往墙上抹了泥巴。
  • A few words were smeared. 有写字被涂模糊了。
13 facade El5xh     
n.(建筑物的)正面,临街正面;外表
参考例句:
  • The entrance facade consists of a large full height glass door.入口正面有一大型全高度玻璃门。
  • If you look carefully,you can see through Bob's facade.如果你仔细观察,你就能看穿鲍勃的外表。
14 exacting VtKz7e     
adj.苛求的,要求严格的
参考例句:
  • He must remember the letters and symbols with exacting precision.他必须以严格的精度记住每个字母和符号。
  • The public has been more exacting in its demands as time has passed.随着时间的推移,公众的要求更趋严格。
15 inevitable 5xcyq     
adj.不可避免的,必然发生的
参考例句:
  • Mary was wearing her inevitable large hat.玛丽戴着她总是戴的那顶大帽子。
  • The defeat had inevitable consequences for British policy.战败对英国政策不可避免地产生了影响。
16 incorrigible nknyi     
adj.难以纠正的,屡教不改的
参考例句:
  • Because he was an incorrigible criminal,he was sentenced to life imprisonment.他是一个死不悔改的罪犯,因此被判终生监禁。
  • Gamblers are incorrigible optimists.嗜赌的人是死不悔改的乐天派。
17 fecund PkAxn     
adj.多产的,丰饶的,肥沃的
参考例句:
  • The pampas are still among the most fecund lands in the world.南美大草原仍然是世界上最肥沃的土地之一。
  • They have a fecund soil.他们有肥沃的土地。
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