Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruppavai – 11

From faultless cowherd clan – that milks hordes
of young cows and destroys enemies in battles –
are you, O’ golden creeper like slender girl;
Come join us, O’ stylish peacock like girl
with waist curved like a snake’s hood;
While all your friends have come to your courtyard
and are singing the praise of dark hued Kannan,
you, a wealthy girl, lie unmoved and silent;
What’s the meaning of this sleep, my friend?

கற்றுக் கறவைக் கணங்கள் பலகறந்து
செற்றார் திறலழியச் சென்று செருச்செய்யும்
குற்றம்ஒன் றில்லாத கோவலர்த்தம் பொற்கொடியே
புற்றுஅரவு அல்குல் புனமயிலே போதராய்
சுற்றத்து தோழிமார் எல்லாரும் வந்துநின்
முற்றம் புகுந்து முகில்வண்ணன் பேர்பாட
சிற்றாதே பேசாதே செல்வபெண் டாட்டிநீ
எற்றுக்கு உறங்கும் பொருளேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

One of her friends is still asleep, not waking up. Andal tells her, “You are from the proud cowherd clan that milks hordes of cows tirelessly, and when it comes to battles, destroys its enemies fearlessly. O’ you slender golden creeper like girl from such a great clan; O’ you stylish beauty like a preening peacock. Your waist is curved like a snake’s hood.

We, your frieds are at your courtyard singing the praise of our dark hued Kannan. But you, a wealthy girl, are lying unmoving and silent. What is the meaning of such a sleep, my friend?”

அல்குல் is a contentious word in Tamil, due to its two different meanings. It is either ‘waist’ or ‘pudendum’ based on context. In this poem, it is interpreted as waist.

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