Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thagadur Yathirai –

With what can I identify? With what can I identify?
That this is my son, with what can I idenfity?
His eyes are buried under arrows;
Head, garlanded with many a sword, is destroyed;
Mouth, stuffed with sharp arrrows and oozing flesh,
resembles a quiver full of arrows;
Heart, is punctured with sharp arrows;
Thighs, shot with many an arrow, are discolored;
Hence, this youngster, pinned down
like a fully blossomed flower,
like the fragrant prickly pod of a fever nut
(That this is my son, with what can I idenfity?)

*fever nut / nicker nut, pod of Caesalpinia Bonducella
எற் கண்டறிகோ? எற்கண்டறிகோ?
என் மகன் ஆதல் எற்கண்டறிகோ?
கண்ணே கணை மூழ்கினவே; தலையே
வண்ண மாலை வாள் விடக் குறைந்தன;
வாயே, பொருநுனைப் பகழி மூழ்கலிற் புலால் வழிந்து
ஆவ நாழிகை அம்பு செறித் தற்றே;
நெஞ்சே, வெஞ்சரங் கடந்தன; குறங்கே
நிறங்கரந்து பல்சரம் நிறைந்தன; அதனால்
அவிழ்பூ அப்பணைக் கிடந்த காளை
கவிழ் பூங் கழற்றின்காய் போன்றனனே

This is a poem from Thagadur Yathirai, a poetic work about battle between Cheras and Athiyaman (ruler of Thagadur, present day Dharmapuri). This work is lost and only 48 poems, referred to in other poems, are available. Hence its provenance is not very clear.

At the end of the battle, an old woman comes to the battle field in search of her son. She is shown the body of her son, fully pierced with arrows. She cries out in agony. “How shall I identify that this is my son? With what body part shall I identify that this is my son. I can’t identify by the eyes, that are fully buried under arrows. I can’t identify by the head that is severely destroyed having faced multiple swords like accepting garlands. I can’t identify by the mouth which, like a quiver, is shot full of arrows and flesh oozing out. His heart is punctured by million arrows. Thighs, shot with a lot of arrows have lost blood and discolored. He lies on a bed of arrows, open like a fully bloomed flower. He looks like the prickly pod of a nicker nut, with arrows protruding from all parts of his body. With what body part can I identify that this is my son?”

fever nut

Caesalpinia Bonducella – கழற்றிங்காய் – Source : http://senthuherbals.blogspot.com/2014/08/blog-post.html

 

எற் கண்டறிகோ – எதைக் கண்டு அறிவேனோ – with what shall I identify
கணை – arrow
மூழ்கின – covered / buried
வாள் – sword
குறைந்தன – destroyed
பொருநுனை – sharp tipped
பகழி – arrow
புலால் – flesh
ஆவ நாழிகை – quiver
அம்பு – arrow
செறி – full
வெஞ்சரம் – வெம்மை + சரம் – fiery arrow
குறங்கு – thigh
நிறங் கரந்து – lost color
பல் சரம் – many arrows
அவிழ் பூ – open flower
பணை – peg(ged down) / pinned down
காளை – bull / youngster
கமழ் பூ – fragrant flower
கழற்றிங்காய் – fever nut / nicker nut/ prickly pod of the plant

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