Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Poetry - STAMMER by K. Satchidanandan

Poetry - STAMMER by K. Satchidanandan

Stammer is no handicap:
it is a mode of speech.

Stammer is the silence that falls
between the word and its meaning,
just as lameness is the silence
that falls between the word and the deed.

Did stammer precede language
or succeed it?
Is it only a dialect
or a language itself?-these questions
make the linguists stammer.

Each time we stammer,
we are offering a sacrifice
to the God of Meanings.

When a whole people stammer
stammer becomes their mothertongue
as it is with us now.

God too must have stammered
when He created Man.
That is why each word of man
carries different meanings.
That is why everything he utters
from his prayers to his commands
stammers,
like poetry.

(VIKKU,Translated by the poet)

5 comments:

Brian Durrans said...

I love this poem and plan to read it (perhaps without stammering) at a poetry group I attend in West London. I first came across it in a collection called Language for a New Century (edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar [New York & London, Norton, 2008], but the version there is a little different from the version here, and excludes the reference to stammering being an offering to the God of Meanings, which I especially like. Please could you confirm the translation here is more authentic than the version in the Norton volume?
Many thanks

Brian Durrans said...

Love this poem, plan to read it at a poetry group in London in July, but the version here has an extra verse (about stammer being sacrifice to God of Meaning - which I especially like) compared with the version published by Norton in 2008. Need to know which version is correct. Please can someone advise?

Brian Durrans said...

Love this poem, plan to read it at a poetry group in London in July, but the version here has an extra verse (about stammer being sacrifice to God of Meaning - which I especially like) compared with the version published by Norton in 2008. Need to know which version is correct. Please can someone advise?

Brian Durrans said...

Love this poem, plan to read it at a poetry group in London in July, but the version here has an extra verse (about stammer being sacrifice to God of Meaning - which I especially like) compared with the version published by Norton in 2008. Need to know which version is correct. Please can someone advise?

Brian Durrans said...

Love this poem, plan to read it at a poetry group in London in July, but the version here has an extra verse (about stammer being sacrifice to God of Meaning - which I especially like) compared with the version published by Norton in 2008. Need to know which version is correct. Please can someone advise?
thanks, Brian Durrans