Short Film Stammer
A Critical Appreciation of the poem
‘Stammer’ is a thought provoking poem written by K Sachidanandan, a well known poet and critic writing in Malayalam and English. He is considered as the pioneer of Modern Malayalam Literature. The poem Stammer was originally written in Malayalam with the title ‘Vikku’, and later it was translated into English by the poet himself.
In this poem the poet takes stammer as the main theme. He treats stammer not as a handicap but as a mode of speech. Word and meaning are different like word and deed. A word doesn’t have a fixed meaning. It is the speaker or the listener who makes different meanings to words. It would be difficult even for a linguist to analyse and explain the history of stammer. It would have started with the creation of man. When we stammer we give a different meaning to a listener, which is different from its literal meaning. The poet considers stammer as a sacrifice to the God of meanings. Unknowingly we make a sacrifice to a language by giving a different utterance of it. If all people stammer, it will become an accepted practice and later could be considered as mother tongue.
The poet says that the God must have stammered at the time of creation. He justifies this argument saying that all words of man are having different meanings. Sometimes we interpret rather misinterpret the words of others. Interpretations of these words are making a lot of problems in the society. It even causes a lot of destruction to society. Differences in perspectives also make us to give different utterance of the same word in different way. So words can be both constructive and destructive.
We pray and command differently and it appears different to people like poetry. He compares stammer with poetry. Poet speaks about the nature of poetry. Some people find it easy to understand the implied meaning of poem but for others it looks obscure and finds different interpretation to it.
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It is a mode of speech.
between the word and its meaning,
just as lameness is the
silence that falls between
the word and the deed.
or succeed it?
Is it only a dialect or a
language itself? These questions
make linguists stammer.
we are offering a sacrifice
to the God of Meanings.
stammer becomes their mother tongue:
as it is with us now.
when He created Man.
That is why all the words of man
carry different meanings.
That is why everything he utters
from his prayers to his commands