Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Ainkurunooru – 185

The lass with fine bangles shaped by file* –
her teeth are like shining pearls in Korkai harbour
where lily petals sway;
her mouth is of coral hue;
her word is sweet like a harp’s twang.

* – polishing file; probably shell bangles carved with a file

அலங்குஇதழ் நெய்தல் கொற்கை முன்துறை
இலங்கு முத்து உறைக்கும் எயிறு கெழு துவர் வாய்,
அரம் போழ் அவ் வளைக் குறுமகள்
நரம்பு ஆர்த்தன்ன தீம் கிளவியளே.

He is in the beach looking at a group of girls. One of the girls comes and asks him who is his lover among the group. He describes her. She is the one wearing bangles shaped by a polishing file. Her teeth are like shining pearls fished in Korkai’s (an important harbor in Pandiya Kingdom, situated in present day South Tamil Nadu) anchorage, where lily petals sway gently. Her mouth is coral red in colour. Her words are sweet like the music emanating when strings of a harp are plucked.

அலங்கு – sway
நெய்தல் – Lily flower
முன் துறை – lightening anchorage where load is lightened before the vessel goes to berth
இலங்கு – shine
உறைக்கும் – similar
எயிறு – teeth
கெழு – color
துவர் – coral
அரம் – file
போழ் – cut (I have used ‘shaped’)
குறுமகள் – young girl – lass
நரம்பு – string of a harp (யாழ்)
ஆர் – sound (I’ve used ‘twang’)
தீம் – sweet
கிளவி – word

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