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The Poet of Pottsville 波兹维尔的小诗人
2019/4/11 14:02:39 来源: 世知网

By Marileta Robinson      Art by Dani Jones

马亦飞 译      张晶校 译

内容提要

皮蒂·帕尔默在笔记本上胡乱画着,琢磨着明天就是妈妈的生日了,自己没钱,该怎么办呢?妈妈总是说,亲手做的礼物才是最好的礼物,可自己手太笨了。想想自己做的手工制品,皮蒂不禁丧气地感叹:“我若从事手工艺,一场悲剧定无疑!”话一出口,发现这句话还挺押韵!要不给妈妈写一首诗作为生日礼物吧!可他自己也没想到,这还一发而不可收拾了,并且引出了一连串的烦恼……

Petey Palmer doodled in his notebook, trying to think. He was short of cash, and his mom’s birthday was tomorrow. What was he going to do? Mom always said homemade gifts were best, but he was all thumbs. Even the macaroni necklace he had made for her in first grade had fallen apart. “As an arts-and-craftser, I’m a disaster,” he said out loud. Hey, that rhymed! Sort of. Maybe he could write a poem for Mom.


The next night, when Dad and Ben handed Mom their presents, Petey gave her his poem. She read it out loud:

“Dear Mom, you are a winner.

There’s nobody quite like you.

I like the things you make for dinner,

Especially your Irish stew.

Happy birthday!”

“Petey, that’s beautiful!” she said.

Ben said, “Hey, Petey, could you write a poem for my girlfriend, Stacy? Her birthday is next week.”

“I guess so,” said Petey.

When Stacy was visiting the following week, she told Petey she loved the poem. “Could you write one for my friend Kara?” she asked. “She has the flu.”

“Sure,” said Petey.

Word spread about Petey’s poems. Friends, classmates, neighbors, and even the mail carrier asked him to write rhyming poems for special occasions. And Petey always said yes. He stayed up late every night and woke up early every morning to think up rhymes for all the poems he had promised.“Are you all right, Petey?” asked his mom one day. “You look tired.”

“I’m fine,” Petey mumbled.

But that night, Petey dreamed he was at the bottom of a deep hole. A giant was tossing wads of paper at Petey and shouting “You must write! Day and night!” When the wads of paper reached his chin, he woke up. “That dream was creepy, and I’m still sleepy,” Petey said. He blinked. “I hope I don’t rhyme all the time.” He gulped. He couldn’t stop rhyming! He got dressed and went into the kitchen.

“How do you feel today?” asked his mom.

“OK, I guess, but my brain’s a mess,” he said.

Dad and Ben laughed. “You’re really taking this poetry thing seriously,” said

Dad.

Petey grabbed a piece of toast and his backpack. “It won’t be cool if I’m late for school,” he said as he ran out the door.

In class, Petey hoped that Ms. Brown wouldn’t call on him. But she did. “Petey, in what year did Neil Armstrong become the first man to walk on the moon?”

“It was a long time ago, but I can’t tell a lie. It was 1969, in the month of July.”

Petey groaned.

Ms. Brown raised her eyebrows. “Do you feel OK, Petey?” she asked.

“I woke up this morning feeling strange. I keep on hoping that will

change.”

Ms. Brown handed Petey a hall pass. “Go see the nurse before you feel worse—I mean, until you feel better.”

Petey sighed and walked down the hall to the nurse’s office. As he passed the front desk, a TV crew bustled through the front door. A reporter stuck a microphone near his face. A bright light glared in his eyes. “Young man, the mayor of Pottsville is visiting schools today. What is your opinion on how schools could be better?”

“Uh—school’s OK. We learn lots of stuff. But sometimes I think the tests are too tough.”

“Wow, that rhymed!” said the reporter. “Anything else you’d like to say?”

Petey did not want to rhyme again—but he couldn’t help it. “The teachers here are really nice. The cafeteria serves too much rice.”

The mayor shook Petey’s hand, smiling at the camera. “Our schools are doing a fine job. They even have the students speaking in poetry!”

When Petey arrived at his house that afternoon, a crowd was clustered near the front door. They rushed toward him, clicking cameras. “Young man, you’re being called the Poet of Pottsville,” a reporter shouted. “Can you make up a poem for us?”

Petey’s mind went blank. His head was spinning. “Ga . . . ga . . . ga . . .” was all he could say.

“That does it,” said his mother. She pulled him inside and slammed the door.“I’m making an appointment with the doctor.”

“He should have two weeks of bed rest,” the doctor told Petey’s parents.

“Don’t say anything that rhymes in front of him. And no books of poetry!”

At the end of two weeks, the family gathered in Petey’s room.

“I feel fine,” he said.

They waited. “No rhymes!” cried Ben “You’re cured!”

At school, things went well all morning. Petey sat with his friends at lunch. “Hey Petey,” said Darryl. “Could you write a poem for my mom’s birthday?”

No one spoke. Petey stared at the ceiling and thought. He really did like writing poems—in moderation. He said:

“Writing poetry is fun.

It can be done by anyone.

Try it out. Before you know it,

You’ll be another Pottsville poet!”

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