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The Stammerer’s Complaint

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Video and text created by Rik

Imagine not being able to speak your mind. To know what you want to say, but feel the words get stuck in your throat. If you are a person who stutters, or if you know someone who does, then you might have an idea of what this means.

The poem that I read in the video attached to this text, deals with that very issue. Martin Tupper, the poet, was a severe stutterer and used the words in this poem to express the agony of not being able to speak and the depression that follows it. For me, stuttering is not as much of a problem anymore as it once was, but I can personally relate to this, as I think many of you can. It is a frustrating experience when you want to say something, but can’t do it, simply because the words won’t come out of your mouth. The blocks, the repetitions, they prevent you at that moment from saying what you want to say. The people you talk to get nervous, they look away or even walk away, and you are left with so much unsaid.

Now, this is of course is an interpretation of ‘The Stammerer’s Complaint’ from a stuttering point of view. Yet, the reason I find this poem especially appealing is because I see another meaning in the text. As you might have noticed, the words ‘stuttering’ or ‘stammering’ are not used. Tupper merely describes the effects of it. Therefore, the poem is open to another interpretation: it describes simply not being able to speak your mind, not from because of a stutter, but because there is something else holding you back. Maybe you do not want, or are not able to, talk about your feelings, the things that weigh on your mind. Maybe others do not let you speak, or you do not feel comfortable in the company you are in. Here as well do the words get stuck in your throat.

This second interpretation also feels very relatable to me, because I have experienced those very moments, the times where I knew I wanted to express my feelings, but did not feel able to do it. The situations in which this has happened varied, yet the outcome was always the same: I felt alone and frustrated at the fact that I did not say what I wanted to say, and angry at myself for not being more open and trusting towards others.

And so, this poem may have a very dark message, but one that I find appealing and which I think offers a different perspective from the other content here on Stamily. All the positive messages are of course great and they can be very inspiring. But let’s not forget or dismiss the dark moments we all have at times. They are very much part of life as well.

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