Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thirukkural – 1238

As I relaxed my embracing arms a bit,
Golden bangled lass’s forehead grew pale.

முயங்கிய கைகளை யூக்கப் பசந்தது
பைந்தொடிப் பேதை நுதல்.

He was hugging her tight, and thought it might hurt her. So he relaxed his arms. When his embrace loosened a bit, she thought he is going to take leave of her. That thought pained her immensely, and her forehead grew pale.

முயக்கம் – embrace / hug
ஊக்குதல் – loosen
பசந்தது – grew pale
பைந் தொடி – golden bangle (wearing girl)
நுதல் – forehead

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One thought on “Thirukkural – 1238

  1. Some of the kuRaLs here are the very apex.
    I contend one needs a cultivation of akam rasanai here to read them as gentle and not miss them as hyperbole/drama.

    The very subject matter being the ‘mechanics of intimacy,’ it can go awfully awkward. It is supremely done by The Dude.

    By the way, did you know that it is parimElazhagar who supplies the thalaivan (narrator of the poem) with the intention of ‘not wanting to hurt the thalaivi’ when loosening the embrace.

    If you simply read the kuRaL there is nothing to suggest such an intention!

    parithiyaar calls it just an instance of loosening in the midst of the union. And even that caused the thalaivi to develop pasalai! That is quite another level.

    maNakkuduvar says the loosening of embrace is what it is – the thalaivan initiating culmination of physical union.

    MaNakkudavar does not give the thalaivan any halo. I enjoy this reading a little more because it opens up the whole kuRal for what piRivu is at the end of the day.

    A separation of the interior to go out and seek. And the man HAS to initiate that.
    The grammar for செலவழுங்குதல் (delaying separation) – the thurRai which has some of the finest sangam songs – underlines that it is only temporary. The thalaivan has to go.

    Insofar as the separation from the current ongoing physical congress is both the germ and the metaphor for the greater Separation, it is indeed The man who initiates that.

    Even all that imbues the man with a bit of unnecessary halo. Perhaps, the man always dials out first, because he is a man. It is the very fact that his descent to normalcy is earlier that allows him to observe her.

    And THAT is the moment of this kuRaL.

    With such 21st century cynicism I plug this: http://dagalti.blogspot.com/2020/04/blog-post_30.html


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