Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Puranaanooru – 87

Rivals entering battlefield, beware!
There’s a warrior amidst us too;
He’s like a chariot wheel crafted for a month
by an artisan who makes eight chariots a day.

களம் புகல் ஓம்புமின், தெவ்விர்! போர் எதிர்ந்து,
எம்முளும் உளன் ஒரு பொருநன்; வைகல்
எண் தேர் செய்யும் தச்சன்
திங்கள் வலித்த கால் அன்னோனே.

Praising the valor of their patrons is a repeated occurence in Sangam poetry. In this poem, Avvayar praises the valor of her patron Adhiyaman Neduman Anji in a poem addressed to his enemies. She says “Don’t think too much of yourself. Beware of Adhiyaman. He is a strong and swift warrior”. The simile she uses is what elevates this poem. How good is Adhiyaman? He is as good as a finely crafted chariot wheel (strong and swift), carved for a month by a skilled carpenter who normally makes eight chariots a day. That good he is.

“வைகல் எண் தேர் செய்யும் தச்சன் திங்கள் வலித்த கால் ” – chariot wheel crafted for a month by a carpenter who makes eight chariots a day. I used the word ‘artisan’ instead of ‘carpenter’ to bring out the ‘skilled carpenter’ implied in the poem.

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