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2022.09.16 在最后的时刻,女王无处不在

发表于 2022-9-20 01:52:24 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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For a last moment the Queen is everywhere
Her image is fixed over the streets. The rest of us are merely passing

Sep 16th 2022



By Ann Wroe

Time and again we have heard the word in recent days. Britain is mourning the Queen’s “passing”. The Queen has “passed”. Not passed away – a more solemn antecedent, which brought to mind a collective doffing of tall hats – but simply passed, like a figure in a procession, or a shadow on the wall.

The word might seem apt in the Queen’s case. That is how she figured in people’s lives in Britain: smiling briefly on the news, walking along a line of children, waving in an open carriage that moved at a brisk clip – or, the only time she appeared in the flesh to me, behind the tinted window of her official Rolls-Royce as it came down Birdcage Walk in the rain. On state occasions, from the upper windows of The Economist’s former office in St James’s Street in central London, we would watch for the moment her gorgeous gilded carriage shone suddenly between two rows of buildings, and then vanished.

In a more general way, the ubiquity of “passing” is understandable. “Death” and “died” are difficult words to say, harder to face, brutal as a curse. Immediately the images crowd in of yellow skin and skulls, dust and shrouds and tilted gravestones; collapse, black absence.

There is a finality about death that people instinctively want to soften, both for their own sake and for others’. For those, like me, who believe in the soul’s immortality, death is a word that immediately needs clarifying: physical death, the death of the body. “Passing” on the other hand suggests continuity, a breezing through the scene, of someone whose spirit is bound elsewhere.

Passing is the stuff of everything we experience in the world. No one steps into the same river twice. No piece of music and no acting role is played the same way twice. In the mirror, we ourselves are never precisely the same. Clouds, moods, troubles, time, all surge continually past.

Nothing is dependable; nothing lasts. The rule applies to monarchs as much as to anyone else

On the Mall, in these strange September days, the seasons run together in confusion. The crowds in their thousands hold bouquets of summer, sunflowers and roses mostly, many wrapped ecologically in paper rather than cellophane. Yet they walk through sloughs of brown, crisp leaves that have already fallen, November-fashion, from the old plane trees. And in the mist of morning, after brief night rain, the trees have also recovered their light-greenness, which is almost of spring. Everything changes, nothing is dependable, nothing lasts. The rule applies to monarchs as much as to anyone else.

Yet, as with most euphemisms, “passing” simply won’t do as a death-word. It is weak and frail; it has no substance and no resistance. It is like the gun-salutes in the park, which trail off in smoke, or the bell-ringing which ends in echoes sinking under the hill. It is the passage of a ghost. Nothing remains.

We took it for granted, this constancy and constant presence

“Passing” does not begin to evoke the struggle and heft of life, the work and sweat of it, the weight of the person lost, whatever their class and condition. It even suggests indifference, as if the person who has died bestowed barely a glance or a thought on those around them. It is the most inadequate word imaginable for someone of the Queen’s discipline and devotion to her subjects, whose work was the hard graft of building the monarchy for the modern age. She “passes” with just a glint of a crown and a sweep of her long velvet robes, disappearing somewhere on the other side of Admiralty Arch. And we turn our attention to who, and what, comes next.

Except that many of us do not. In the days of mourning many of us have encountered the Queen in the same fleeting way as before, but now it is she who is steady and we who are carried past. She is no longer confined to her palaces but presiding everywhere across the nation, on backlit displays at bus stops or on notices quickly placed in the windows of cafés and letting agents.

Our figures, jumbled and reflected, pass across hers. At my local underground station, and by the departures board at St Pancras, she is suddenly there on the wall, larger than life-size, crowned and jewelled, ruling over the barriers where we heedlessly tap in and out to a thousand destinations.

In a way it has always been so – ever since we were first acquainted, a continuous quiet occupation of our minds. We took it for granted, this constancy and constant presence. Now we find ourselves the passing show, suddenly and strangely unmoored without her.■

Ann Wroe is The Economist’s obituaries editor. Her previous articles for 1843 magazine include an ode to the sun and why wild swimming is a sham

photographs dougie wallace




最近几天,我们一次又一次地听到这个词。英国正在哀悼女王的 "去世"。女王已经 "去世 "了。不是去世--一个更庄严的前缀,让人想到集体脱下高帽--而是简单地过去了,就像游行队伍中的一个人物,或墙上的一个影子。


从更普遍的角度来看,"逝去 "的普遍性是可以理解的。"死亡 "和 "去世 "是难以启齿的词,更难面对,残酷得像诅咒。画面立刻挤满了黄色的皮肤和头骨,灰尘和裹尸布以及倾斜的墓碑;坍塌,黑色的缺席。

死亡有一种终结性,人们本能地想要软化它,无论是为了自己还是为了他人。对于那些像我一样相信灵魂不死的人来说,死亡是一个立即需要澄清的词:身体的死亡,身体的死亡。另一方面,"过世 "暗示着连续性,一个精神被束缚在其他地方的人轻而易举地穿过现场。




然而,就像大多数委婉语一样,"逝去 "根本不能作为一个死亡词来使用。它是软弱无力的;它没有实质内容,没有抵抗力。它就像公园里的礼炮,在烟雾中渐渐消失,或者敲钟声在山下的回声中结束。它是一个幽灵的通道。什么都没有留下。


"流逝 "并没有开始唤起生命的挣扎和重量,它的工作和汗水,失去的人的重量,无论他们的阶级和状况如何。它甚至暗示了冷漠,就好像死去的人对周围的人几乎没有看一眼或想一想。对于像女王这样有纪律、对臣民有奉献精神的人来说,这是可以想象的最不恰当的词,她的工作是为现代建立君主制的艰苦工作。她 "过去了",只用王冠一闪,天鹅绒长袍一扫,就消失在海军部拱门的某处。我们把注意力转向谁,以及接下来会发生什么。




Ann Wroe是《经济学人》的讣告编辑。她以前为《1843》杂志撰写的文章包括《对太阳的颂歌》和《为什么野泳是个骗局?

照片 杜吉-华莱士
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