Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kurunthokai – 4

Don’t grieve my heart, don’t grieve my heart;
don’t grieve that our lover who should wipe away
my eyelash singeing tears and cheer me,
is indifferent to my plight.

நோம், என் நெஞ்சே; நோம், என் நெஞ்சே;
இமை தீய்ப்பன்ன கண்ணீர் தாங்கி,
அமைதற்கு அமைந்த நம் காதலர்
அமைவு இலர் ஆகுதல், நோம், என் நெஞ்சே.

He hasn’t come as promised. She chides her heart not to grieve over him. He who should have wiped away her tears that are so hot that they singe her eyelashes and cheered her up is indifferent to her plight. So she asks her heart not to grieve over him.

Two phrases in this poem stand out for me.

இமை தீய்ப்பன்ன கண்ணீர் – eyelash singeing tears. Instead of simply saying ‘hot tears’, when the poet uses ‘ eyelash singeing tears’, the pain comes through more sharply.

The word play of அமைதற்கு அமைந்த நம் காதலர் அமைவு இலர் ஆகுதல் is hard to bring out in English. I have had to settle for prosaic words – “our lover who should cheer is indifferent”.


நோ(வு) – suffer , grieve

தீய்ப்பன்ன – burn like fire

தாங்கி – to stop (the tears)

அமைதல் – to be content

அமைந்த – to happen

அமைவு – support





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One thought on “Kurunthokai – 4

  1. Yes, the eyelash singeing tears was indeed striking.


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