Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kalingathup Parani – 477

Look, look at these men whose faces glow
as vultures and eagles prey on their body,
like patrons whose smiling faces are aglow
when thronged for food by guests and needy.

விருந்தினரும் வறியவரும் நெருங்கி யுண்ண
மேன்மேலும் முகமலரும் மேலோர் போலப்
பருந்தினமும் கழுகினமும் தாமே யுண்ணப்
பதுமமுகம் மலர்ந்தாரைப் பார்மின் பார்மின்.

Kalingathup Parani is a poem written in 12th century about the exploits of Chola general Karunakara Thondaiman in the Battle of Kalinga (present day Orissa). First part of the long poem has the poet calling women to open their doors and let their victorious lovers into their homes. Next is about the reasons for the battle and battle itself. Final part is about ghouls feasting on dead warriors in the battle field. This part is full of gory and vivid imagery.

Dead bodies of soldiers are strewn across the battlefield. Vultures and eagles are having a veritable feast preying on the bodies. As they crowd and prey on the entrails, it is like a patron feeling happy as he is thronged by guests and the needy for food.

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