K. Satchidanandan’s poem ‘Stammer’ (translated from ‘Vikku’ in Malayalam) presents a different perspective of stammer that is commonly considered a speech defect. The poet not only dispels the notion that it is a handicap but also shows how stammer could be perceived in both social and cultural contexts.
Notes on ‘Stammer’ by K. Satchidanandan
“Each time we stammer
we are offering a sacrifice
to the God of meanings”
- What is stammer compared to in these lines?
- How does stammer get a spiritual status through these words?
- Why does the poet think so?
“God too must have stammered
when He created man
That is why all the words of man
carry different meanings.”
- What is the reason for different meanings in the poet’s view?
- Why do words carry different meanings in the poet’s opinion?
“That is why everything he utters
from his prayers to his commands
- Who is referred to here as “he?”
- What quality does the simile attribute to stammer in these lines?
- The use of ‘silence’, ‘sacrifice’ and ‘poetry’ make Stammer a different experience. Write a paragraph on the meaning conveyed by those terms in the poem.
- A person’s stammer is different from ‘a people’s’ stammer. How does the poet tell us about it through his poem “Stammer”? Give your opinion in a paragraph.
- To listen to K. Satchidanandan is to be reminded that there are beautiful and different perspectives. Even a term such as ‘language’ gets a wider sense in his poems. Read the poem ‘The Mad’ and compare it with ‘Stammer’, focussing on their meaning, in addition to the analysis of poetic devices.