Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kurunthokai – 130

(Her friend consoles her)

He can’t have dug up the earth and vanished inside,
Nor can he have climbed up to the sky,
Or walked across the seas;
Country by country, town by town,
House by house if we search,
Can our lover evade us?

நிலந்தொட்டுப் புகாஅர் வான மேறார்
விலங்கிரு முந்நீர் காலிற் செல்லார்
நாட்டி னாட்டி னூரி னூரிற்
குடிமுறை குடிமுறை தேரிற்
கெடுநரு முளரோநங் காத லோரே.

This is a poem by poet Velliveethiyar. He hasn’t come for long. She is pining for him. Her friend consoles her saying “Our lover could not have dug up the earth and vanished inside nor can he have climbed up to the sky. He could not have walked across the ocean that bounds our land. So he must be here in this land only. If we search each country, town and village is there any which way he can evade us? So don’t worry, I will find him for you”

It is the convention in Sangam poetry for the friend to associate herself with the heroine and say “Our lover”.

புகார் – புக மாட்டார் – can’t enter
மேறார் – மேல் ஏறார் – can’t climb
விலங்கு இரு – that lies athwart / on the way
முந்நீர் – Sea (முந்நீர் – மூன்று நீர் – three waters (rain water, spring water, river water) that enter the sea
குடிமுறை – household
கெடு – run away / evade

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