Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Nattrinai – 133

She says to her friend (who pacifies her saying that her lover will come back soon):

My dear friend! your kind words –
that he won’t let me suffer
the town women’s slander
“look at this dusky girl
with braided dark hair,
sporting  beauty spots
along with chains on her waist;
her arms have thinned so much
that her bangles slip out,
her eyes have lost
their cut tender mango shape,
her forehead too has started to pale”
– like a frond of cool water sprinkled
on hot coals by a black smith,
soothe my love sick heart a little.

“தோளே தொடி கொட்பு ஆனா; கண்ணே
வாள் ஈர் வடியின் வடிவு இழந்தனவே;
நுதலும் பசலை பாயின்று-திதலைச்
சில் பொறி அணிந்த பல் காழ் அல்குல்
மணி ஏர் ஐம்பால் மாயோட்கு” என்று,
வெவ் வாய்ப் பெண்டிர் கவ்வை தூற்ற,
நாம் உறு துயரம் செய்யலர் என்னும்-
காமுறு தோழி!-காதல்அம் கிளவி,
இரும்பு செய் கொல்லன் வெவ் உலைத் தெளித்த
தோய் மடற் சில் நீர் போல,
நோய் மலி நெஞ்சிற்கு ஏமம் ஆம் சிறிதே.

He has gone to earn money. He hasn’t come back as promised and she is beginning to suffer. Her arms have thinned out, her eyes have started drooping and pallor spreads in her forehead. Her friend is alarmed and tries to pacify her saying “Don’t worry, he will be back soon. He won’t let the town women gossip about you”. She tells her friend “I am sure he will come back. Yet my heart suffers. Your kind words soothe me and  provide me temporary relief, like cool water sprinkled on hot coals by a black smith”

She doesn’t want to blame him for her predicament. At the same time she needs the reassurance of her friend. Her heart, suffering from love, is in a state of turmoil. Her friend’s kind words provide temporary relief from that pain.

Cut mango shape for eyes is an interesting simile

cut mango

pic courtesy:


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