It is very intriguing to see subversive writing: as in iconoclastic thoughts, sometimes, brilliant writers take an ignored concept and turn it on its head, revealing the world within.
Dr.Clarissa Estes had, in her iconic book, Women Who Run With The Wolves, analysed the etymology of the so called obscene words.
Obscene- from old Hebrew,Ob, meaning a wizard, sorceress.
Dirt: Middle English, drit, probably from Icelandic- excrement. Now extended to obscenity.
To quote Dr.Estes, “…the obscene is not vulgar at all, but rather seems more like some fantastic nature creature that you dearly wish would visit you and be one of your best friends.”
Ahhhhh, serendipity, I murmured when I encountered this poem. Some thoughts, resonate across countries, across genders, across languages and cultures…
The contribution of ‘Obscene Words’ in a human life, as examined by the Malayali poet Veeran Kutty.
TERIVAKKUKAL/ Obscene Words
I was trying
to make a
of beautiful words,
Melting them in the heat
Unexpectedly, from somewhere
A word came in:
Copper hair all unruly
The shirt wrongly buttoned
Seeming a traveller of many lands, trembling…
Told me, it was an abusive word, driven away by someone
Never invited to a home,
Never allowed entry into writing
I felt like showing it affection,unseen by others.
Abusive word, dear one,
In how many fights, did you make
your presence felt-
Boiling within us?
When you danced on the tongue
The murderous knife,
Turned into one used for filing the nails;
The hand that was about to strike,
Embraced the other instead!
For secrets, which other mother tongue than you?
You unstripped the soul, and laying it down
Lit the fire of lust.
Though I berate you with a thousand tongues
Have prayed often that you will grace me from within.
‘ Enough,..enough…’ it said, as it struggled to get away
‘ You merely praise me thus,
Even you have never given me a space
In your poetry, till now.
The monuments that you build with
Beautiful similes, multi storeyed ones
Will get swallowed by the seas one day
But in hidden places of refuge, my huts shall remain, even then…’
With the steps of an ancient creature
It went down into the Forest of Language,
As I stood, watching.