Wolf Song

wolf

Woman, Wolf

Whatever name you go by

In the world of ours,

Watch and abide,

Listen and stay sharp.

For when the foe stirs

Aim for the jugular first.

 

Carry the howl within,

The thirst and the anger.

Ignore the brambles

The bleeding scars awhile.

It is time to fight

And so arm yourself nail and tooth.

 

Bare your fangs

That sparkle in  the moonlight

Let no enemy sleep tight

When the wolf stalks its prey.

And when they gaze at you

With revulsion and fear

Flip your luxurious mane

And walk gracefully away.

 

The wise ones know

That the  she-wolf within you

Is loath to forgive

Is wary of sweetness

Is proud and brave

And excels in survival.

But even they are unaware

That the flame within

Is a raging fire.

Touch once, it singes,

Mess with it twice, it will burn

Trouble it thrice, hell breaks loose

Wolf and inferno shall remain.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obscene Words( Poem)/ Teri Vakkukal( Translation)

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

Translation:

I was trying

to make a

Poem-chain

of beautiful words,

Melting them in the heat

Gracefully.

Unexpectedly, from somewhere

A word came in:

Copper hair all unruly

Nose dripping

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…’

Shouting thus,

With the steps of an ancient creature

It went down into the Forest of Language,

As I stood, watching.

 

****

 

The Howling

image

I do not know if K R Meera has read Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s ‘Women who run with the wolves.’ But her character, Chetna GriddhaMallick, HangWoman in the making, ( I am at page 209 of the 552 long narrative) reminds me of the various facets of the wild woman  nature, mentioned in Estes’s work.

Meera’s heroine speaks for many voices- hers is the voice through which we discover the family of hangmen, their women, the cultural history of Calcutta, the stories of the hang men’s victims and their loves, their mothers…If I were to do an analysis of the sentences which reveal Chetna herself, it will be as few as two sentences per chapter.

Like a fugitive, the real woman hides, revealing her fire in few sentences, terse and cynical, to show us her vulnerability, her love, her desire for a callous , unfathomable man(  Quote ” There were rats on the silken bed!” ” Like  a sure-handed hangman, he tightened his noose around my neck, exactly between the third and fourth spots …”), whose evil she sees, miles away- but is drawn to, hapless, weak. I have another 240 odd pages to read, so I should be cautious.Meera is a tricky story teller.

I think of Estes’ words, ” Perhaps, most important, the Bluebeard story raises to consciousness the psychic key, the ability to ask any and all questions about oneself, about one’s family, one’s endeavours, and about life all around. Then, like the wild being who sniffs things out, snuffles into and under and around to discover what a thing is, a woman is free to find true answers to her deepest and darkest questions.She is free to wrest powers from the thing which has assailed her and to turn those powers which were once used against her to her own well- suited and excellent uses.That, is a wildish woman.”

” That night I imagined he was standing on top of the platform of death, that I had covered his face with the death mask,that I had pulled the lever- in 727 ways..”Quote

(The HangWoman, K.R.Meera, Arachar  translated into English by J.Devika. I have the Malayalam version which has been awarded umpteen times by now.Very well deserved too!)

I wish this writer, more Power!