Malayalam Songs – “I am Not An Ivory Tower Poet”
1974 song from a Malayalam movie. This is from an average movie, by any standards.
What struck me is that even for such a mundane filler song, the lyricist has penned some pretty powerful lines. I attempted a translation of the first few lines, then surrendered to a superior intellect – a friend of mine from India.
“I am no celestial poet, I do not sit in contemplation in some ivory tower,
I am no monk sitting in the silent peaks of a mountain range …”
And now his words:
“I’m not an astral poet seeking an ivory tower for meditation
I’m not a monk in a silent monastery
There can’t be a great poem without the nail marks of time
There can’t be a hymn without the smell of human imagination
The Upanishads are full of man’s eternal thirst
The dawn holds for me your intoxicating fatigue
The celestial music is made up of your rhythmic gasps
Our love is sculpted out of a stone’s lonely dreams”
What I took from the song:
We debate endlessly as to which text was handed over by a divinity and which are the ones written by man. We try to excuse the most appalling conduct by quoting verses from some book and pretend that these verses are crafted by someone else. Yet the truth is that we, humans, homo sapiens, evolved apes, wrote everything. The beauty is ours to appreciate, we should look on great human achievements with love and appreciation, as one would gaze fondly at a sleeping child. The horrible stuff is also ours and we better own up to it. We have been endowed with reason and conscience so that we can make some choices. Isn’t it time to start using them?