Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kurunthokai – 117

She misses him and her arms wane and bangles fall loose. Her friend tells her:

Your man is from the shores
Where a distressed wet crab fears
The watchful eyes of glistening lily like stork
And rushes to hide in its nest in shrub roots
Like a bull cutting loose of the cowherd’s rope;
If he doesn’t come here, it is fine!
Traders here have even smaller bangles.

மாரி ஆம்பல் அன்ன கொக்கின்
பார்வல் அஞ்சிய பருவரல் ஈர் ஞெண்டு
கண்டல் வேர் அளைச் செலீஇயர், அண்டர்
கயிறு அரி எருத்தின், கதழும் துறைவன்
வாராது அமையினும் அமைக!
சிறியவும் உள ஈண்டு, விலைஞர் கைவளையே.

He meets her on the sly for days but is not proceeding to the next step, asking her parents to wed her. Also he hasn’t come to meet her in a while. All this is making her whither and the bangles in her arm fall loose. So her friend tells her :

Your lover’s from the sea shore where white storks glistening with water droplets like lily flowers in rain look to hunt crabs. Fearing their eyes, the fearful wet crabs rush to hide in their nests in shrub roots. They rush like the bull that cuts loose from cowherd’s rope and running away. Like that you are afraid of the town’s gossip and are pining for him in your house. Don’t worry about the town’s gossip. If he doesn’t come it is fine. Even if your bangles drop loose because you are waning, traders here have smaller bangles that will stay in your arm.

மாரி – Rain
ஆம்பல் – Lily
கொக்கு – Stork
பருவரல் – fearful
ஞெண்டு – நண்டு – crab
கண்டல் – screw pine shrub
வேர் – root
அளை – hole in the ground, nest
அண்டர் – cow herd
கயிறு – rope
அரி – cut
எருது – bull
கதழ் – run fast
துறைவன் – man from the shore
ஈண்டு – here
விலைஞர் – trader
கைவளை – bangle

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One thought on “Kurunthokai – 117

  1. Beautiful!

    /eyes of glistening lily like stork/
    Well translated!

    Bull escaping cowherd’s ropes is such a mullai image in neithal.

    Is it

    கயிறு அரி எருத்தின், கதழும் துறைவன்


    கயிறு அரி எருத்தின் கதழும் துறைவன்

    That is, does the analogy perhaps apply to the துறைவன்?

    That is, the thuRaivan is racing like a bull escaping from the idaiyar’s rope….and his shores are where the crab races from the stork etc etc

    The thuRaivan-bull analogy being direct and the other being a subtle analogy for the அலர் அஞ்சுதல்.

    My varthamAnar pathippagam book agrees with yours (and tamilvu seems down forever for now ).

    But கதழும் துறைவன் has me a little unconvinced.

    Btw this நண்டு : அலர் analogy comes in at least one other poem. I am unable to place it.

    There the தோழி says, don’t worry the துறைவன் knows the way here so he will drive carefully and not crush the நண்டு in his தேர்ச்சக்கரம் 🙂

    How gently the traditions of even analogies have been maintained!

    Liked by 1 person

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