Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Ainkurunooru – 375

“This is my doll’s favorite doll
this is my parrot’s favorite parrot
this is my flower’s favorite flower”
Did my lily eyed daughter
leave these to remind me
of her twinkling sight and fine forehead,
and grieve every time I see them.

இது என் பாவைக்கு இனிய நன் பாவை
இது என் பைம் கிளி எடுத்த பைம் கிளி
இது என் பூவைக்கு இனிய சொல் பூவை என்று
அலமரு நோக்கின் நலம் வரு சுடர் நுதல்
காண்-தொறும் காண்-தொறும் கலங்க
நீங்கினளோ என் பூ கணோளே.

She has eloped with her lover. Her mother sends people to search for her. They come back and say she has left town. This is her mother’s lament. “This is my doll like daughter’s favorite doll. This is my parrot like daughter’s favorite parrot. This is my flower like daughter’s favorite flower. She has left her favorite play things, pets and flowers and gone away with him. Every time I look at them they remind me of her and make me grieve more.”

The Tamil version says பூ கணோளே – flower like eyes. I have used ‘Lily eyed’ since eyes are equated to lily flowers (நெய்தல்/ஆம்பல்) in Tamil literature often.

As always, if you can read Tamil, read it out loud. Especially the cadence of the last two lines. I can’t do justice to it.

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