Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “AinthinaiAimpathu”

Ainthinai 50 – 42

Oh’ crooked legged crab! We request thee;
Let us feast our eyes on the chariot tracks of our lover,
who’s from the shore where waves crash ceaselessly;
Please don’t walk over them and erase!

கொடுந் தாள் அலவ! குறை யாம் இரப்பேம்;
ஒடுங்கா ஒலி கடற் சேர்ப்பன் நெடுந் தேர்
கடந்த வழியை எம் கண் ஆரக் காண,
நடந்து சிதையாதி, நீ!

He hasn’t come to meet her. She’s waiting for him in the sea shore. She laments to the crab, saying “Let me at least look at the wheel marks created by his chariot when he was here. I request you to please not walk over the marks and erase. If I can’t see him, I will see the wheel marks and assuage myself that he will come back.”

கொடும் தாள் -bent leg / crooked leg
அலவம் – crab
குறை – request
இரப்பேம் – I plead
ஒடுங்கா ஒலி – ceaseless noise (of the waves)
கடல் சேர்ப்பன் – man from the shore
நெடுந்தேர் – majestic chariot
ஆரக் காண – to see fully / behold
சிதையாதி – சிதைக்காதே – don’t destroy / erase

Ainthinai Aimpathu – 21

O’ Bard, you are not unlike the man who sells
small eyed needle in blacksmith’s street
at inflated prices! – tell us the real message
sent by the man from paddy field ringed village.

கொண்டுழிப் பண்டம் விலை ஒரீஇக் கொற்சேரி
நுண் துளைத் துன்னூசி விற்பாரின், ஒன்றானும்
வேறு அல்லை,-பாண!-வியல் ஊரன் வாய்மொழியைத்
தேற, எமக்கு உரைப்பாய், நீ.

He has been away at his courtesan’s house for long. Now he wants to return back to his house. Afraid of his wife’s anger he sends his bard to appease her. She refuses to hear the flowery words of the bard. She says to him, “You are not much different from the man who sells small eyed thin needles at inflated prices in blacksmith’s street. I know the value of what you are selling. So don’t waste my time but tell me the real message that he sent across.”

Selling needle in blacksmith’s street is the equivalent of selling coal to Newcastle. The proverb is a common usage in Tamil even today. (கொல்லன் தெருல ஊசி வித்த கதையா).

Ainthinai Aimpathu – 38

Her friend says :

Thinking scanty water in the pond isn’t enough
and wanting his doe to drink her fill,
the buck pretends to drink – so dry’s the way
your beloved has chosen to cross, they say.

தோழி கூற்று :

சுனை வாய்ச் சிறு நீரை, ‘எய்தாது’ என்று எண்ணி,
பிணை மான் இனிது உண்ண வேண்டி, கலைமா தன்
கள்ளத்தின் ஊச்சும் சுரம் என்பர், காதலர்
உள்ளம் படர்ந்த நெறி.

This is a poem in Ainthinai Aimbathu (50 poems on 5 landscapes), one of the 18 post Sangam collections. Maran Porayanar is the author of these poems. Each of the five landscapes has 10 poems. The above poem is from Paalai (Arid landscape). The leitmotif of this landscape is separation of lovers.

In this poem, he has left her to go and earn money. For that he has to cross dry arid lands. She is upset about their separation. Her friend says the land he is crossing is dry and water is scarce. When two deer come to the pond, the buck thinks that the water there is not enough for both of them. Hence he pretends to drink and lets the doe have her fill. So dry is the land.

The implied meaning is seeing the compassionate deer, he will be reminded of his lover, change his mind and come back to her. Even if the wealth they have is very little, couples can manage with that instead of being separated in order to earn wealth.

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