Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kurunthokai – 95

Clamor of pristine white water falls from lofty hills
echo inside caves in the slope dotted with many a flower;
Her dad is chief of a hamlet in those slopes;
His broad shouldered young daughter’s
water like grace doused my fire like vigor.

மால் வரை இழிதரும் தூ வெள் அருவி
கல் முகைத் ததும்பும் பல் மலர்ச் சாரற்
சிறுகுடிக் குறவன் பெருந் தோட் குறுமகள்
நீர் ஓரன்ன சாயல்
தீ ஓரன்ன என் உரன் அவித்தன்றே.

His friend finds him listless and asks him the reason. He says “See that hill slope dotted with many hued flowers.  Pristine white water falls from those hills and sounds noisily inside the caves. I have fallen in love with the daughter of a hill chieftain from that hilly slope. She is graceful and gentle, just like the water that flows in her hills. I was full of vigor before I met her. Her gentleness has doused my vigor. I am besotted with her now and feeling listless”

Description of nature is inherent part of Sangam poetry. He mentions those flower dotted hill slope and caves to indicate that is where they had made love.

The last two lines make this poem. Read them out loud and relish them.
நீர் ஓரன்ன சாயல்
தீ ஓரன்ன என் உரன் அவித்தன்றே

Her water like grace
doused my fire like vigor.

மால் வரை – Lofty hill
இழிதரும் – falls down
தூ வெள் அருவி – pure white water falls
கல் முகை – crack in rocks / caves
ததும்பும் – sounds / echoes
பல் மலர் – many flowers
சாரல் – hill slope
சிறுகுடி – small hamlet
குறவன் – chief
பெருந் தோட் குறுமகள் – broad shouldered young daughter
நீர் ஓரன்ன சாயல் – water like grace
தீ ஓரன்ன என் உரன் – my fire like strength / vigor
அவித்தன்றே – quenched / doused

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