塞林格九十岁生日快到了。离《抬高房梁，木匠们/西摩：小传》（Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction）中文版的出版也近了。多年前，《抬高房梁，木匠们》曾由上海翻译家吴劳先生翻译成中文，但1959年发表于《纽约客》杂志上的《西摩：小传》，过去却从未进入中文世界。考虑到《弗兰妮与祖伊》与这两个中篇故事之间的联系，《抬高房梁，木匠们/西摩：小传》仍由《弗兰妮与祖伊》的译者丁骏继续翻译。
早上上班时，在公交车上看今天出版的东方早报刊登了一整版丁骏撰写的关于塞林格的文章《塞林格：活到140岁不是问题》，算是这个塞林格迷和东方早报提前向老先生祝寿吧。文中提到，《西摩：小传》中写到西摩非常喜欢中国和日本古代诗歌。塞林格顺便“卖弄”了一下他对中日古代诗人的知识，提到了三个中国古人的名字：Lao Ti-kao, Tang Li, Ko-huang。
今年早些时候，丁骏翻译到这个地方，就顿住了，不知这三人是谁。在网上也查不到。她去请教牛津的汉学家，也没问到答案。这些天读书稿，就为此事抓狂，在msn签名档上“悬赏”求答案。不少热心朋友跳出来支招：Lao Ti-kao是不是老子？Tang Li是不是李白？Ko-huang是不是顾况？
(No, no, I can't stop now. It seems to me, in my Condition, that I'm no longer merely asserting my brother's position as a poet; I feel I'm removing, at least for a minute or two, all the detonators from all the bombs in this bloody world - a very tiny, purely temporary public courtesy, no doubt, but mine own.) It's generally agreed that Chinese and Japanese poets like simple subjects best, and I'd feel more oafish than usual if I tried to refute that, but 'simple' happens to be a word I personally hate like poison, since - where I come from, anyway - it's customarily applied to the unconscionably brief, the timesaving in general, the trivial, the bald, and the abridged. My personal phobias aside, I don't really believe there is a word, in any language - thank God - to describe the Chinese or Japanese poet's choice of material. I wonder who can find a word for this kind of thing: A proud, pompous Cabinet member, walking in his courtyard and reliving a particularly devastating speech lie made that morning in the Emperor's presence, steps, with regret, on a pen-and-ink sketch someone has lost or discarded. (Woe is me, there's a prose writer in our midst; I have to use italics where the Oriental poet wouldn't.) The great Issa will joyfully advise us that there's a fat-faced peony in the garden. (No more, no less. Whether we go to see his fat-faced peony for ourselves is another matter; unlike certain prose writers and Western poetasters, whom I'm in no position to name off, he doesn't police us.) The very mention of Issa's name convinces me that the true poet has no choice of material. The material plainly chooses him, not he it. A fat-faced peony will not show itself to anyone but Issa - not to Buson, not to Shiki, not even to Basho. With certain prosaic modifications, the same rule holds for the proud and pompous Cabinet member. He will not dare to step with divinely human regret on a piece of sketch paper till the great commoner, bastard, and poet Lao Ti-kao has arrived on the scene to watch. The miracle of Chinese and Japanese verse is that one pure poet's voice is absolutely the same as another's and at once absolutely distinctive and different. Tang-li divulges, when he is ninety-three and is praised to his face for his wisdom and charity, that his piles are killing him. For another, a last, example, Ko-huang observes, with tears coursing down his face, that his late master had extremely bad table manners. (There is a risk, always, of being a trifle too beastly to the West. A line exists in Kafka's Diaries - one of many of his, really - that could easily usher in the Chinese New Year: 'The young girl who only because she was walking arm in arm with her sweetheart looked quietly around.') As for my brother Seymour - ah, well, my brother Seymour. For this Semitic-Celtic Oriental I need a spankingnew paragraph.