Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Naaladiyaar – 90

One can survive town square’s soaring fire
by diving into the river ; lust though, will sear
even if you dive into the river ; lust will sear
even if you hide in the hillside .

ஊருள் எழுந்த உரு கெழு செந் தீக்கு
நீருள் குளித்தும் உயல் ஆகும்; நீருள்
குளிப்பினும், காமம் சுடுமே; குன்று ஏறி
ஒளிப்பினும், காமம் சுடும்.

This is poem no. 90 from Naaladiyaar. It is in the chapter named Not desiring other man’s wife (பிறர்மனை நயவாமை) . One can escape even the roaring fire by diving into the river. But lust for the other man’s wife will burn you down, even if you dive into the river or climb up the hill. Nothing good ever comes off it. So don’t covet other man’s wife. The brevity of words and the inherent rhythm of the original Tamil poem is hard to replicate.

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