Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Nammalvar Thiruvaimozhi 5.4.2

Who will save my life now?
This evil night has engulfed the seas,
Earth and sky in unending darkness;
My Kannan, of dark blue hue, hasn’t come, alas;
You too aren’t helping me, my wretched heart!

ஆவிகாப் பாரினியார்? ஆழ்கடல்மண் விண்மூடி,
மாவிகார மாயோர் வல்லிரவாய் நீண்டதால்,
காவிசேர் வண்ணனென் கண்ணனும் வாரானால்,
பாவியேன் நெஞ்சமே! நீயும்பாங் கல்லையே?

In this poem Nammalvaar takes the role of a girl in love with Kannan. She is waiting for him to come and meet her. But the playful Kannan hasn’t come yet. She tells herself  “This night is stretching forever and has covered the entire world – the sea, earth and sky – in darkness. I am waiting for my Kannan, who is dark blue hued like the dark blue lily. But he hasn’t come to see me. Oh, my wretched heart! You too will not stop thinking of him. Your pining for him isn’t helping me. Who will save my life now? I am done for unless he comes soon”

ஆவி – life / soul
காப்பார் – save
இனி யார் – who (will) now
மா விகாரம் – great evil
காவி – dark blue lily flower
சேர் – resembling
வண்ணன் – coloured
பாங்கு – friendly / helpful
அல்லை – not

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