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