Lines Written for Elmo Castelnuovo
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Lines Written for Elmo Castelnuovo
Peter Everwine
          It's not time that passes, it's you, it's I
                                       -- Rutger Kopland
In winter, by late afternoon, it's almost dark
 when you come home from the mine. I hear
 the front gate creak and the metallic1 clink
 of your pail before you round the corner
 by the back steps where I've been waiting.
 In the sharp chill of the air, the mineral
 undercurrent of damp earth and shale2
 comes with you. You turn down the collar
 of your shirt and let water from the pump
 pour down your face and nape, the skin above
 your undershirt pale as the crescent moon visible
 above the darker mass of the hills.
• • 
 You drive for hours, heading nowhere; you walk
 the streets at night and argue with the moon --
 something hidden and manic in you emerged,
 almost unnoticed, until at last you huddled3
 homeless and bewildered under a pile
 of coats in an alleyway no wider
 than the mines you entered as a young man.
 The rat scuttling4 in the garbage bin5, the cat
 stalking the rat, did they become your familiars?
 And the passersby6, who glanced at you and hurried
 on their way, did they believe you were invisible?
 Did the tag knotted to your toe say nameless?
• • • 
 What I loved was the touch of your calloused7 hand
 on my head, the coal-rimmed hollows of your eyes.
 If you returned now from the sooty underworld
 in which you dwell, you would not recognize me.
 The gate is gone; the house and those who lived in it
 are hidden elsewhere. Only the crescent moon
 and darkling hills are as you left them. Come back
 as you were, if only for a moment. I'm waiting
 by the back steps. The kitchen window casts
 its light; at the laden8 table the absent prepare
 for your arrival. You will be hungry and tired,
 as in those years through which our lives passed.


1 metallic LCuxO     
  • A sharp metallic note coming from the outside frightened me.外面传来尖锐铿锵的声音吓了我一跳。
  • He picked up a metallic ring last night.昨夜他捡了一个金属戒指。
2 shale cEvyj     
  • We can extract oil from shale.我们可以从页岩中提取石油。
  • Most of the rock in this mountain is shale.这座山上大部分的岩石都是页岩。
3 huddled 39b87f9ca342d61fe478b5034beb4139     
  • We huddled together for warmth. 我们挤在一块取暖。
  • We huddled together to keep warm. 我们挤在一起来保暖。
4 scuttling 56f5e8b899fd87fbaf9db14c025dd776     
n.船底穿孔,打开通海阀(沉船用)v.使船沉没( scuttle的现在分词 );快跑,急走
  • I could hear an animal scuttling about in the undergrowth. 我可以听到一只动物在矮树丛中跑来跑去。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • First of all, scuttling Yu Lung (this yuncheng Hejin) , flood discharge. 大禹首先凿开龙门(今运城河津市),分洪下泄。 来自互联网
5 bin yR2yz     
n.箱柜;vt.放入箱内;[计算机] DOS文件名:二进制目标文件
  • He emptied several bags of rice into a bin.他把几袋米倒进大箱里。
  • He threw the empty bottles in the bin.他把空瓶子扔进垃圾箱。
6 passersby HmKzQJ     
n. 过路人(行人,经过者)
  • He had terrorized Oxford Street,where passersby had seen only his footprints. 他曾使牛津街笼罩了一片恐怖气氛,因为那儿的行人只能看到他的脚印,看不到他的人。 来自英汉 - 翻译样例 - 文学
  • A person is marceling on a street, watching passersby passing. 街边烫发者打量着匆匆行人。
7 calloused 7897851b401f223edd1460a8f5ec37f3     
adj.粗糙的,粗硬的,起老茧的v.(使)硬结,(使)起茧( callous的过去式和过去分词 );(使)冷酷无情
  • A most practical and emotionally calloused Youth interrupted. 一个非常讲究实际而心肠很硬的年轻人插了一嘴。 来自辞典例句
  • McTeague exhibited his hard, calloused palms. 麦克梯格摊开那双生满老茧坚硬的手掌。 来自辞典例句
8 laden P2gx5     
  • He is laden with heavy responsibility.他肩负重任。
  • Dragging the fully laden boat across the sand dunes was no mean feat.将满载货物的船拖过沙丘是一件了不起的事。
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