ஒரு காதல் கவிதை

கீழே வருவது எனது கோட்பாட்டு வகுப்பு ஒன்றுக்காக எழுதிய ஒரு குறிப்பு. தேவதேவனின் பிரசித்தமான “ஒரு காதல் கவிதை” கவிதையை பற்றின அலசல். இக்கவிதையில் வரும் முத்தம் உண்மையில் ஒரு முத்தம் அல்ல; மனம் சொல்லத் தவிக்கும் ஒன்றை சொல்ல முடியாது போகையில் என்னென்னமோ செய்கிறோம். நவீன வாழ்க்கையில் கட்டியணைத்து முத்தமிடுவது போல் பாலுறவு சார்ந்தது அல்ல - எதையோ ஒன்றை சொல்வதற்கான தவிப்பே. அதனாலே கட்டிப்பிடிக்க முடியாவிட்டால் காப்பியாவது குடிக்கலாம் என்கிறார் தேவதேவன். அக்கவிதை, அதன் ஆங்கில மொழியாக்கம், அதைப் பற்றின எனது குறிப்பு இனி:

ஒரு காதல் கவிதை
-       தேவதேவன்
-        
கட்டிப்பிடித்து முத்தமிடவா முடியும்;
ஒரு காபி சாப்பிடலாம், வா


A Love Poem
-          Devadevan
We can’t
Hug each other and kiss
Let us have a coffee
Instead
Comment:
Our initial response to postponing kiss would be to interpret it as suppression of desire. But for that interpretation to work, the suppressed desire / libidinal impulse must find some other socially acceptable means to express itself. Such as this example by Freud: a person with an impulse to kill and mutilate others would turn himself into a surgeon and becomes venerated for his service to humanity (instead of being jailed for crime). Sublimation is mostly turning an excitable but socially inacceptable impulse into something better, something more acceptable, something elevating for you as an individual.
Let us look at this poem. If the initial impulse is sexual it could have been only sublimated into an activity involving literature, music, religion, family, social service and other ideals. But the narrator talks about having coffee as an alternative to kissing – coffee drinking is a mundane activity that involves no exaltation. So this is not sublimation. What else is this poem about?
Let us say the narrator is terribly excited about something – he is unable to say what that is. So he thinks of a hug and a kiss. But the societal norms don’t permit it. Instead he chooses having a cup of coffee together. Here an act of desire is equated with a drink, by which the narrator claims both don’t mean what they are intended to. The kiss is equivalent to coffee since the kiss is not a kiss and the coffee is not coffee. They lack essence. They are signifiers who illuminate one another by association, as Lacan would explain the father gaining fatherhood by means of other father figures in the society.
 Since language does not let ourselves express fully the intended meaning, the unsayable would drive the narrator from a kiss and a hug to a coffee and then on to various other such signifiers until he is aghast and mute.
So what does the poem convey? What is its message?

It says nothing could be said. The initial claim that “one can’t hug and kiss” and the subsequent claim that one can only “drink coffee” cancel out each other as we realize why “one can’t hug and kiss”. If one can’t hug and kiss, one can’t have coffee, one can’t chitchat, one can’t walk with the other person, one can’t swear at him, one can’t tell a delightful lie, one can’t look into the eyes and smile and so on. This way we could deconstruct the poem using Lacan.


Comments

Anonymous said…
Boss-Seems you are in a great mood.

In your translation, 'instead' does not carry any relevance I guess.

The author knows of person involved and unknowingness isn't there which you've not accounted for.

My translation would have been :

1.
'Hug and Kiss' has gone amiss .
How about a cup of coffee , Missy !

2. Hugging and Kissing- could be a pipedream!
A cup of coffee- not out of scope !

All the best for more to come .

Regards