Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Purananooru – 300

“Give me a shield, a shield” you shout; with the shield,
hiding behind a rock might save you in the battle field;
Brother of the man you killed yesterday,
his eyes rolling like crab’s eye seeds in a vessel,
is searching for you, like a man searches the house
for a jug to partake town’s hot toddy.

‘தோல் தா; தோல் தா’ என்றி; தோலொடு
துறுகல் மறையினும் உய்குவை போலாய்;
நெருநல் எல்லை நீ எறிந்தோன் தம்பி,
அகல் பெய் குன்றியின் சுழலும் கண்ணன்,
பேர் ஊர் அட்ட கள்ளிற்கு
ஓர் இல் கோயில் தேருமால் நின்னே.

Purananooru – 300. A battlefield scene. A soldier provokes his fellow soldier (in order to motivate him) saying “a shield won’t save you, go and hide behind a rock. Brother of the man whom you killed yesterday is searching for you. His eyes roll in anger like crab’s eye seeds roll around in a vessel. He searches for you like a drunkard searches for a jug to go and drink toddy”. Nothing can stop a drunkard in search of a drink. Like that this man won’t stop till he finds you.

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