Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Ainkurunooru”

Ainkurunooru – 63

My lord! Your town’s fresh water otter
Smells of sea fish that it gets to eat daily;
Though I might wane away, its fine!
I won’t embrace the chest that hugged others.

பொய்கைப் பள்ளிப் புலவுநாறு நீர்நாய்
 வாளை நாளிரை பெறூஉ மூர
 எந்நலந் தொலைவ தாயினும்
 துன்னலம் பெருமபிறர்த் தோய்ந்த மார்பே
.

He comes back home after days with his courtesan. As he tries to placate her, she refuses to engage with him. She says “You are from the town where otters born in fresh water smell of the sea fish that they get to eat daily. Similarly you have come back from the courtesan with whom you frolicked . I might whither away by not being with you. That fine. Still I won’t get close and hug your chest that was embraced by other women”

Fresh water otter smelling of sea fish is as striking metaphor. Till I read this poem I didn’t know Fresh Water Otters (நீர் நாய்) were present in Tamil Nadu. Today I learned that Asian Small Clawed Otters have their habitat in Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu. Two thousand year old ancestors taught me about my land 🙂

பொய்கை – Natural Spring
புலவு நாறும் – smells of meat
நீர்நாய் – otter
வாளை – silver scabbard fish / sea fish
நாள இரை – daily food
பெறூஉம் – gets
ஊர – man from that town
என் நலம் – my health
தொலைவது ஆயினும் – eventhough wanes
துன்னுதல் – embrace
பெரும – my lord
பிறர் – other
தோய் – hug / embrace
மார்பு – chest

Ainkurunooru – 448

As resounding war drums sound at daybreak
Fiery ruler gets ready to face battle;
As jasmine buds bloom on the sides of valley,
Monsoon season faces intense raindrops;
Thinking of my beautiful haired girl,
Sleeplessly I face a spiral of misery.

தழங்குரல் முரசம் காலை இயம்ப,
கடுஞ் சின வேந்தன் தொழில் எதிர்ந்தனனே;
மெல் அவல் மருங்கின் முல்லை பூப்பப்
பொங்கு பெயல் கனை துளி கார் எதிர்ந்தன்றே;
அம் சில் ஓதியை உள்ளுதொறும்,
துஞ்சாது அலமரல் நாம் எதிர்ந்தனமே.

He has gone to be part of the chieftain’s army. The Ruler wants to engage in more battles. But the rainy season has started. He had promised his girl that he will be back before the monsoon. So he says to himself “The wardrums have sounded in the monring. My fiery ruler gets ready to face the battle. I can see jasmine flowers blooming along the sides of the valley. It means the monsoon season is here, getting ready to face intense rain drops. I had prromised to my girl that I will come back before it rains. Thinking of my girl, she of beautiful silky hair, I am sleepless here, facing a whirlpool of misery”

தழங்கு – resounding
முரசம் – drum
இயம்ப – sound
கடுஞ் சின – angry / fiery
வேந்தன் – ruler
தொழில் – work / (battle in this case)
எதிர்ந்த – to face
மெல் – tender
அவல் – low land / valley
மருங்கு  – side
முல்லை – jasmine
பெயல் – rain
கனை – intense
துளி – drops
கார் – rainy season
அம் சில் ஓதி – beautiful tressed girl
உள்ளு – to think
துஞ்சாது  – wihout sleeping
அலமரல் – wallow in misery

Ainkurunooru – 214

Leaving your big cool eyes teared up
He goes back to his renowned country,
Where hills are dotted with jackfruit trees
And their fleshy aromatic fruit
Falls down a rocky crevice
Tearing apart the honeycomb there.

சாரற் பலவின் கொழுந்துணர் நறும்பழம்
இருங்கல் விடரளை வீழ்ந்தென வெற்பில்
பெருந்தே னிறாஅல் கீறு நாடன்
பேரமர் மழைக்கண் கலிழத்தன்
சீருடை நன்னாட்டுச் செல்லு மன்னாய்.

He is leaving her to go back to his country. He sends the message through her friend. Her friend tells her, within his hearing, “The man from the storied hills is going back to his country, leaving you all teary eyed. In his hills, jackfruit trees grow along the slopes. A fruit from those trees falls in the gap between rocks and breaks the honeycomb there to pieces. He came and met you making you happy. Now by his going away, he breaks your tender heart like a huge jackfruit falling down and tearing apart a tender honeycomb.”

The idea is that by hearing this he will feel remorse and take steps to marry her at the earliest. Jackfruit tearing apart honeycombs is an arresting metaphor. It is of no use to the jackfruit which itself will break into pieces on falling down, while at the same time the honeycomb too goes waste. In South India it is a common practice to pour honey in jackfruit flesh and eat them together. If you take that into account, this metaphor grows even further.

சாரல் – mountains
பலவின் – பலாவின் – of jack fruit tree
கொழுந்துணர் – fleshy / ripe
நறும் பழம் – aromatic fruit
இருங் கல் – big mountain / rocky
இடர் – in between
அளை – hollow / crevice
வெற்பு – hill
பெருந்தேன் இறால் – honey comb
கீறு – tear apart
பேரமர் – big calm
மழைக் கண் – cool eyes
கழில – suffer / teary eyed
சீருடை – சீர் உடைய – renowned
அன்னாய் – my friend

Ainkurunooru – 229

(Her friend asks her on seeing colour return to her face)

Be blessed, my friend! Did the callous one,
who vanished for days in a row
Leaving us teary eyed, come last night?
Like Gold, gloriously shines your brow.

அம்ம வாழி, தோழி! நாம் அழப்
பல் நாள் பிரிந்த அறனிலாளன்
வந்தனனோ, மற்று இரவில்?
பொன் போல் விறல் கவின் கொள்ளும், நின் நுதலே.

He has been away for long. She pines for him and her colour wanes. Then one day he visits her at night. The joy of seeing him restores her health. She tries to keep it secret. But her friend finds out and asks her “My friend! Did your lover who vanished for many days and left us crying, come to meet you last night? Colour has returned to your forehead and it shines like gold. Though you try to keep it a secret, your ruddiness gives it away”

அறனிலாளன் – அறம் இல்லாதவன் – Uncompassionate / Callous

விறல் – Magnificent / Glorious

கவின் – beauty / shine

நுதல் – forehead / brow

Ainkurunooru – 90

On hearing that his wife is upset with her, the courtesan says :

Did the bee acquire her husband’s wonderful trait?
Or did her husband acquire the bee’s wonderful trait?
She doesn’t know the reality,
His son’s mother, who is irked with me.

மகிழ்நன் மாண்குணம் வண்டு கொண்டனகொல்?
வண்டின் மாண்குணம் மகிழ்நன் கொண்டான்கொல்?
அன்னது ஆகலும் அறியாள்,
எம்மொடு புலக்கும், அவன் புதல்வன் தாயே.

He left his wife and spent time with his courtesan. Now he has moved on to other women. But his wife is still upset with the courtesan and bad mouths her. Hearing this, the courtesan says “Her husband is like a bee that moves from flower to flower. Whether he got that trait from the bee or the bee got the trait from him, I don’t know. His son’s mother (wife) is not aware of the reality and is angry with me. But he has left me too.”

மகிழ்நன் – husband
மாண் குணம் – great quality / trait
அன்னது ஆகல் – such reality
அறியாள் – does not know
புலக்கும் – புலத்தல் கொள்ளும் – angry with / irked with

Ainkurunooru – 238

Even if long horned sturdy ram has deserted it,
short haired ewe still stays back with desire
near the roaring waterfalls in your hills, My lord!
Only when you arrive here,
does her haleness appear too.

வார் கோட்டு வயத் தகர் வாராது மாறினும்,
குரு மயிர்ப் புருவை நசையின் அல்கும்
மாஅல் அருவித் தண் பெருஞ் சிலம்ப!
நீ இவண் வரூஉம்காலை,
மேவரும் மாதோ, இவள் நலனே தெய்யோ!

Her friend tells him how much his lady misses him. She says, “Whenever you come, you find her cheerful and healthy. Do you know that her haleness and cheerfulness makes is presence felt, only when you are here? When you are not here, she weakens and withers away. In your hill country, even after a long horned sturdy goat has deserted it, the female goat still roams around the waterfalls expecting the male to come back. Like that she holds herself together waiting for you. Better marry her soon”

வார் – long
கோடு – horn
வயம் – strong
தகர் – male goat / ram
குரு மயிர் – short hair
புருவை – female goat / ewe
நசை – desire
அல்கும் – stays
மாஅல் அருவி – huge waterfalls
சிலம்ப – சிலம்பு நாட – lord of hill country
இவண் – here
மேவரும் – appear
நலன் – நலம் – healthiness / haleness

 

Ainkurunooru – 84

She’ll get tight-lipped and angry just on hearing it,
What’ll happen if she sees with her own eyes –
Your whoring chest that many a girl has relished,
like the chilly river front in the month of Thai
where fragrant flower plaited girls revel in.

செவியின் கேட்பினும் சொல் இறந்து வெகுள்வோள்,
கண்ணின் காணின், என் ஆகுவள்கொல்
நறு வீ ஐம்பால் மகளிர் ஆடும்
தைஇத் தண் கயம் போல,
பலர் படிந்து உண்ணும் நின் பரத்தை மார்பே?

He comes back home after spending time with his mistress. Her friend refuses to let him inside the house saying she will be angry if she sees him. Even hearing that he is with his mistress makes her angry and speech less. What will happen if she sees with her own eyes evidence of his cheating. Petals cling to his chest as evidence. Her friend disparagingly calls it ‘whoring chest’. It was customary during the month of Thai (Jan/Feb) for girls to go and bathe early morning in the chilly waters of the river front. So the river front will be strewn with flowers from their plaited hair. Like that his chest has petals from the tresses of many a girl who has relished it.

Is is thought that this custom of தை நீராடல் (Thai Neeraadal) later morphed into பாவை நோன்பு (Paavai Nonbu).

செவியின் – ear
கேட்பினும் – கேட்டாலே – just on hearing
சொல் இறந்து – word less
வெகுள்வோள் – வெகுளி கொள்வோள் – she who gets angry
நறு – fragrant
வீ – flower
ஐம்பால் – plaited hair
ஆடும் – revel in
தைஇ – Month of Thai (Jan/Feb)
தண் கயம் – cool water front
படிந்து உண்ணும் – settle and relish
பரத்தை – courtesan

Ainkurunooru – 363

O’ girl, Sister of murderous hunters clad in red
and carrying wooden bow and arrows!
You think of it as glow of your bosom;
my tormented heart thinks of it as torment.

சிலை வில் பகழிச் செந் துவர் ஆடைக்
கொலை வில் எயினர் தங்கை! நின் முலைய
சுணங்கு என நினைதி நீயே;
அணங்கு என நினையும், என் அணங்குறு நெஞ்சே.

After their love making he praises the girl. “Your brothers are murderous hunters wearing red colour attire and carrying bow and arrows made of wood. You are their sister. You look at the rosiness in your breasts and think it is glowing. But my heart tormented by you looks upon them as the cause of its torment.”

The word play is in சுணங்கு (glow / rosiness) – அணங்கு (grief / torment).

சிலை வில் – சிலை மரத்தால் செய்யப்பட்ட வில் – wooden bow
பகழி – arrow
செந்துவர் ஆடை – red coloured dress
கொலைவில் – murderous
எயினர் – Hunters
சுணங்கு – Rosiness / glow
அணங்கு – Torment

Ainkurunooru – 287

In your country, parrot in millet field fears
the short legged goat that grazes in tall hills!
You are adept in trickery;
you are inept too, as you act unfairly.

நெடுவரை மிசையது குறுங்கால் வருடை
தினைபாய் கிள்ளை வெரூஉ நாட
வல்லை மன்ற பொய்த்தல்
வல்லாய் மன்றநீ யல்லது செயலே.

He has promised to come and ask her dad for her hand. But hasn’t turned up as promised. Her friend chides him saying “You are an expert in deceiving us. You lied to us that you will come home and ask her father for her hand. But because you don’t do the right thing, you are “. The first two lines are interesting. The goats aren’t bothered about the parrots and go about their grazing. But the parrot is afraid of the goat unnecessarily. Her friend implies that he is afraid of her relatives unnecessarily and that’s why he has not turned up as promised.

நெடு வரை – tall hills
குறுங்கால் – short legged
வருடை – (mountain) goat
தினை – millet
கிள்ளை – parrot
வெரூ – fear
வல்லை – able / adept
பொய்த்தல் – lie / trickery
வல்லாய் – not able /inept

Ainkuru Nooru – 172

The woman with shiny bangles seized my heart!
Like unceasing clamorous waves
of Thondi’s* cool shores where bees hum,
I cannot sleep even at night!

* Thondi – Major port of Chera kings, near modern day Kozhikode, Kerala.

ஒண் தொடி அரிவை கொண்டனள், நெஞ்சே!
வண்டு இமிர் பனித் துறைத் தொண்டி ஆங்கண்
உரவுக் கடல் ஒலித் திரை போல,
இரவினானும் துயில் அறியேனே!

His friend asks him why he is not sleeping. He says the girl I saw in the sea shore, wearing shining bangles, has taken away my heart. Like the unceasing noisy waves of Thondi shore, where bees buzz around, I too am not able to sleep even at night.

The rolling waves never sleep. He likens himself to those waves. Bees buzz around as they circle lily flowers in backwaters. Similarly his heart is roaming around the backwaters after the girl he saw there.

ஒண் – ஒண்மை – shining, bright
தொடி – bracelet / bangle
அரிவை – woman
இமிர் – hum
உரவு – to be in constant motion
திரை – wave
துயில் – sleep

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